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Full text of "History of English poetry from the twelfth to the close of the sixteenth century. With a pref. by Richard Price, and notes variorum. Edited by W. Carew Hazlitt. With new notes and other additions ... With indexes of names and subjects"

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— Lowndes, 










A full Reprint — Text atid Notes — of Edition, London 1778 &= 1781. 

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• ...To devclope the dawnings of genius, and to pursue the progress of our 
national poetry, from a rude origin and obscure beginnings to its perfection 
in a pohshed age must prove interesting, instructive, and be productive of 
entertainment and utility... The object being to faithfully record the features 
of the time, and preserve the picturesque representations of manners...! have 
chose to note but the history of our poetry in a chronological series, and often 
to deviate into incidental digressions to notice the contemporaneous poetry 
of other nations. ..My performance exhibits without transposition the gradual 
improvement of our poetry to the time that it uniformly represents the pro- 
gression of our language. In the earlier sections of the work are numerous 
citations extracted from ancient MSS. never before printed, and which may 
illustrate the darker periods of the history of our poetry.' T. W. 


Sec. I. State of Language. Prevalence of 
the French language before and after the 
Norman conquest. Norman-Saxon poems. 
Legends in verse. Earliest love-song. 
Alexandrine verses. Satirical pieces. 
First English metrical romance, 9, 34 

Sec. n. Satirical ballad in 13th century. 
The king's poet. Robert of Gloucester. 
Ancient political ballads. Robert of 
Brunne. The Brut of England. Le 
Roman le Rou. Jests and jestours. Er- 
celdoune and Kendale. Bishop Grosl- 
head. Monks write for the Minstrels. 
Monastic libraries full of romances. Min- 
strels admitted into the monasteries. 
Regnorum Chronica and Mirabilia Mundi. 
Early European travellers into the east. 
Elegy on Edward I, 34, 74 

Sec. in. Effects of the increase of tales of 
chivalry. Rise of chivalry. Crusades. 
Rise and improvements of Romance. 
View of the rise of metrical romances. 
Their currency about the end of 13th 
century. French minstrels in England. 
Provencal poets. Popular romances. 
Dares Phrygius. Guido de Colonna. 
Fabulous histories of Alexander. Pilpay's 
Fables. Roman d'Alexandre. Alexan- 
drines. French and JCnglish minstrels. 
Provencal writers. Troubadours, 74, 107 

Sec. IV. Examination of the metrical ro- 
mance of Richard I. Greek fire. Mili- 
tary machines used in the crusades. Mu- 
sical instruments of the Saracen armies. 
Geography in the dark ages, 107, 118 

Sec \ Specimens of other popular metri- 
cal romances which appeared about the 
end of 13th century. Sir Guy. The 
Squier of Low Degree. Sir Degore. 
Kmg Robert of Sicily. The King of 
Tars. Ippomedon. La Mort Arthure. 
Subjects of ancient tapestry, 118, 145 

Sec. VI. Adam Davie flourished in the be- 
ginning of 14th century. Specimens of 
his poetry. His Life of Alexander. 
Robert Baston's comedies. Anecdotes 
of the early periods of the English, 
French, and Italian drama, 14s 167 

Sec. VII. The reign of Kd. III. Hamp- 
ole's Pricke of Conscience, 167, 176 

Sec VIII. Pierce Plowman's Visions. 
Ancient state and institution of fairs. explained. Antichrist, 176, 1S9 

Sec IX. Pierce the Plowman's Crede. 
Constitution and character of the orders of 
mendicant friars. Wickliffe, 190, 204 

Sec X. Specimens of alliterative poetry. 
Hymn to the Virgin Mary, 205, 210 

Sec XI. John Barbour's History of Ro- 
bert Bruce, and Blind Harry's Sir William 
Wallace. Historical romances of recent 
events commence about the close of 14th 
century. Chiefly composed by her.alds. 
Character and business of ancient heralds. 
Narratives written by them. Froissart's 
History. His life and character. Retro- 
spective view of manners, 210, 224 

Sec XII. General view of the character 
of Chaucer. Boccacio's Teseide. A Greek 
poem on that subject. Tournaments at 


Constantinople. Common practice of the 
Greek exiles to translate the popular 
Italian poems. Specimens both of the 
Greek and Italian Theseid. Critical ex- 
amination of the Knight's Tale, 224, 243 

Sec. XIII. The subject of Chaucer con- 
tinued. His Rcmaunt of the Rose. 
William of Lorris and John of Meun. 
Specimens of the French Le Roman de la 
Rose. Improved by Chaucer. William 
of Lorris excells in allegorical personages. 
Petrarch dislikes this poem, 243, 253 

Sec. XIV. Chaucer continued- His Troi- 
lus and Cresseide. Boccacio's Troilo. 
Sentimental and pathetic strokes in 
Chaucer's poem. House of Fame. A 
Provencal composition. Analysed. Im- 
properly imitated by Pope, 253, 261 
EC. XV. Chaucer continued. The sup- 
posed occasion of his Canterbui'y Tales 
superior to that of Boccacio's Decameron. 
Squire's Tale, Chaucer's capital poem. 
Its fictions. Story of Patient Grisilde. 
Its origin, popularity, and excellence. 
How conducted by Chaucer, 262, 276 

Sec. XVI. Chaucer continued. Tale of 
the Nun's Priest. Its origin and allusions. 
January and May. Its imitations. Licen- 
tiousness of Boccacio. Miller's Tale. Its 
humour and ridiculous characte-s Other 
Tales of the comic species. Their origin, 
allusions, and merits, Rimeof SirThopas. 
Its design and tendency, 276, 2S7 

Sec. XVII. Chaucer continued. General 
view of the Prologues to the Canterbury 
Tales. The Prioresse. The Wife of 
Bath. The Franke ein. The Doctor of 
Physicke. State of medical erudition and 
practice. Medicine and astronomy 
blended. Chaucer's physician's library. 
Learning of the Spanish Jews. The Somp- 
nour. The Pardonere. The Monke. 
Qualifications of an abbot. The Frere. 
The Parsoune. The Squire. English 
crusades into Lithuania. The Reeve. 
The Clarke of Oxenford. The Serjeaunt 
of Lawe- The Hoste. Supplemental 
Tale, of Beryn. Analysed 2S7, 302 

Sec. XVIII. Chaucer continued. State 
of French and Italian poetry : and their 
influence on Chaucer. Rise of allegorical 
composition in the dark ages. Love- 
courts, and Love-fraternities, in France. 
Tales of the troubadours. Dolopathos. 
Boccacio, Dante, and Petrarch. Decline 
of Provencal poetry. Succeeded in France 
by a new species. Froissart. The Floure 
and the Leafe. Floral games in France. 
Allegorical beings, 302, 310 

Sec. XIX. JohnGower. His character and 
poems. His tomb. His Coufcssio Am- 
antis. Its subject and plan. An unsuc- 
cessful imitation of the Roman de la 
Rose. Aristotle's Secretum Secretorun^. 
Chronicles of the middle ages. Colonna. 
Romance of Lancelot. The Gesta Ro- 
manorum. Shakespeare's caskets. Authors 
quoted by Gower. Chronology of some of 
{jower's and Chaucer's poems. The Con- 
fessio Amantis preceded the Canterbury 
Tales. Gower's genius, 311, 335 

Sec. XX. Boethius. Why, and how much, 
esteemed in the middle ages. Translated 
by Johannes Cappellanus, the only poet 
of the reign of king Henry IV. Number 
of Harpers at the coronation feast of 
Henry V. A minstrel-piece on the Bat- 
tayle of Agynkourte. Occleve. His poems. 
Egidius de Regimine Principum, and 
Jacobus of Casali De Ludo Scaccorum. 
Chaucer's picture. Humphrey duke of 
Gloucester. His character as a patron of 
literature. Apology for the gallicisms of 
Chaucer, Gower, and Occleve, 335, 348 

Sec. XXI. Reign of Henry VI. Lydgate. 
His life and character. His Dance of 
Death. Macaber a German poet. Lyd- 
gate's poem in honour of Saint Edmund. 
Presented to Henrj' VI., at Bury-abbey, 
in a most splendid manuscript, now re- 
maining. His Lyf of our Lady. Elegance 
and harmony of his style, - 348, 355 

Sec. XXII. Lydgate continued. His Fall 
of Princes, from Laurence Premierfait's 
French paraphrase of Eoccace on the 
same subject. Nature, plan, and specimens 
of that poem. Its sublime allegorical 
figure of fortune. Authors cited in the 
same. Boccace's opportunities of collect- 
ing many stories of Greek original, now 
not extant in any Greek writer. Lydgate's 
Storie of Thebes. An additional Canter- 
bury Tale. Its plan, and originals. Mar- 
tianus Capella. Happily imitated by 
Lydgate. Feudal manners applied to 
Greece. Specimen of Lydgate's force in 
description, 355, 368. 

Sec. XXI II. Lydgate's Troy-Boke. A para- 
phrase of Colonna's Historia Trojana. 
Homer, when, and how, first known in 
Europe. Lydgate's powers in rural 
painting. Dares and Dictys. Feudal man- 
ners, and Arabian imagery, ingrafted on 
the Trojan story. Anecdotes of ancient 
Gothic architecture displayed in the 
structure of Troy. An ideal theatre at 
Troy so described, as to prove that no 
regular . stage now existed. Game of 
chess invented at the siege of Troy. 
Lydgate's gallantry. His anachronisms. 
Hector's shrine and chantry. Specimens 
of another Troy-Boke, anonymous, writ- 
ten in the reign of Hen. VI., 368, 380 

Sec. XXIV. Reign of Hen. VI. continued. 
Hugh Campeden translates the French 
romance of Sidrac. Thomas Chester's Sir 
Launfale. Metrical romance of the Erie 
of Tholouse. Analysis of its Fable. 
Minstrels paid better than the clergy. 
Reign of Ed. IV. Translation of the 
classics and other books into French. 
How it operated on English literature. 
Caxton. Anecdotes of English typo- 
graphy, 381, 399 

Skc. XXV. Harding's Chronicle. First men- 
tion of the king's Poet Laureat occurs in 
the reign of Ed. IV. History of that 
office. Scogan. Didactic poems on che- 
mistry by Norton and Ripley, 399, 408 

Sec. XXVI. Poems of Thomas Rowlie. 
Supposed to be spurious, 40S, 427 

Sec. XXVII. The reigns of Rich. III. and 


Hen. VII., abound in obscure versifiers. 
Bertram Walton. Benedict Burgh tran- 
slates Gate's Latin Distichs. History of that 
work. Julian Barnes. Abbesses fond of 
hunting and hawking. A religious poem 
by William of Nassyngton. His Pro- 
logue explained. Minstrels and Gestours 
to be distinguished. Gest of the Three 
Kings of Cologne sung in the arched 
chamber of the Prior at Winchester. 
The Gest of the Seven Sleepers. Origi- 
nally a Greek Legend. Bradshaw's Life 
of Saint Werburgh. Metrical chronicles 
of the kings of England fashionable in 
this century. Ralph Higden proved to 
be the author of the Chester-plays. 
Specimen of Bradshaw's poem, from his 
description of the historical tapestry in 
the hall of Ely monastery when the 
princess Werbiirg was admitted to the 
veil. Legends and legend-makers. Fa- 
byan. Watson. Ca.\ton a poet. Kalendar 
of Shepherds. Pageaunts. Transition to 
the drama. Histrionic profession. Mys- 
teries. Kicodemus's Gospel. The use of 
Mysteries, 427, 458 

Sec. XXVIII. Reign of Hen. VII. Hawes. 
His poems. Painting on the walls of cham- 
bers. Visions. Hawes's Pastyme of Plea- 
sure. The fable analysed. Walter. Med- 
wall. Wade, 459, 479 

Sec. XXIX. Barklay's Ship of Fools. Its 
origin. Specimens Barklay's Ecologues, 
and other pieces. Alcock bishop of Ely. 
Modem Bucolics, 479, 490 

Sec. XXX. Digression to the Scotch poets. 
William Dunbar. His Thistle and Rose, 
and Golden Terge. Specimens. Dunbar's 
comic pieces. Estimate of his genius. 
Moralities fashionable among the Scotch 
in the fifteenth century, 491, 505 

Sec. XXXI. Scotch poets continued. Gawen 
Douglas. His translation of the Eneid. 
His genius for descriptive poetry. Palice 
of Honour, and other pieces, 505, 515 

Sec. XXXI I. Scotch poets continued. Sir 
David Lyndesay. His chief performances 
the Dreme, and Monarchic. His talents 
for description and imagery. His other 

■ poems examined. An anonymous .Scotch 
poem, never, printed, called Duncane 
Laider. Its humour and satire. Feudal 
robbers. Blind Harr>'. History of the Scotch 
poetry recommended, 515, 541 

Sec. XXXIII. Skelton. His life. Pa- 
tronised by Henrj', fifth earl of North- 
umberland. His character, and peculiarity 
of style. Critical examination of his 
poems. Macaronic poetry. Skelton's 
NIorality called the Kigramansir. The 
Moralities at their height about the close 
of Hcnr^' VII. reign, 541, 562 

Sec. XXXIV. A digression on the origin 
of Mysteries. Various origins assigned. 
Religious dramas at Constantinople. 
Plays first acted in the monasteries. 'I'his 
ecclasia.stica! origin of the drama gives 
rise to the practice of performing plays 
in universities, colleges, and schools. In- 
fluence of this practice on the vernacular 
drama. On the same principle, plays 

acted by singing-boys in choirs. Boy- 
bishop. Fete de Foux. On the same 
principle, plays acted by the company 
of parish clerks. By the Law-societies 
in London. Temple-Masques, 562, 589 

Sec. XXXV. Causes of the increase of ver- 
nacular composition in the fifteenth cen- 
tury. View of the revival of classical 
learning. In Italy. France. Germany. 
Spain. England, 589, 607 

Sec. XXXVI. The same subject continued. 
Reformation of religion. Its effects on 
literature in England. Application of this 
digression to the main subject, 607, 62- 

Sec. XXXVII. Petrarch's sonnets. Lord 
Surrey. His education, travels, mistres>-. 
life, and poetry. He is the first writer cjf 
blank-verse. Italian blank-verse. Surrey 
the first English classic poet, 628, 6.',3 

Sec. XXXVIII. Sir Thomas Wyat. In- 
ferior to Surrey as a writer of sonnets. 
His life. His genius characterised. 
E.xcels in m0r.1l poetry, 645, 6,3 

Sec. XXXIX. The first printed Miscellany 
of English poetry. Its contributors. Sir 
Francis Bryan, Lord Rochford, and L' rd 
Vaulx. The first true pastoral in Eng- 
lish. Sonnet-writing cultivated by the )io- 
bility. Sonnets by king Henry VIII. Lit- 
erary' character of that king, 653, 664 

Sec. XL. The second writer of blank-v;rse 
in English. Early blank verse, 664,671 

Sec. XLI. Andrew Eorde. Bale. An Jay. 
Chertsey. Fabyll's ghost a poem. The 
Merry Devil of Edmonton. Minor poets 
of the reign of Henry VIII., 671, 682 

Sec. XLI I. John Hey wood the epigram- 
matist. His works. Ancient unpublished 
burlesque poem of Sir Penny 685,689 

Sec. XLIII. Sir Thomas More's English 
poetry. Tournament of Tottenham. Its 
age and scope. Laurence Minot. Al- 
literation. Digression illustrating the 
language of the fifteenth century, by a 
specimen of the metrical Armoric romance 
of Vwayn andGawayn, 689, 711 

Sec. XLIV. The Notbrowne Maydc. Not 
older than the sixteenth century. Artful 
contrivance of the story. Misrepresented 
by Prior. Metrical romances. Guy, syr 
Bevys, and Kynge Apolyn, printed in 
the reign of Henry. The Scole howse, a 
satire. Christ mas carols. Religious libels 
in rhyme. Merlin's prophesies. Lau- 
rence Minot. On the late continuance 
of the use of waxen tablets. Pageantries 
of Henry's court. Dawn of taste, 712,729 

Sec. XLV. Effects of the Reformation on 
our poetry. Clement Marot's Psalms. 
Why adopted by Calvin. Version of the 
Psalms by Sternhold and Hopkins. The 
Defects of this version, which is patron- 
ised by the puritans in opposition to the 
Choral .Service, 729, 741 

Sec. XLVL Metrical versions of scripture. 
Archbishop Parker's Psalms in metre. 
R. Crowley's puritanical poetrj', 741, 7^8 
Sec. XLVII. 'I'ye's Acts of the Apostles in 
rhyme. His merit as a musician. Early 
piety of Ed. VI. Controversial ballads 
and plays. Translation of the Bible. Its 



effects on our language; Kelton's Chro- 
nicle of the Brutes. First Drinking song. 
Gammar Gurton's Needle, 748, 761 

Sec. XLVIII. Reign of queen Mary. 
Mirrour of Magistrates. Its inventor, 
Sackville lord Buckhurst. His life. 
Mirrour continued by Baldwyn and 
Ferrers- Its plan and stories, 761, 769 

Sec. XLIX. Sackville's Induction to the 
Mirrour of Magistrates. Examined. A 
prelude to the Fairy Queen. Compara- 
tive view of Dante's Inferno, 769, 791 

Sec. L. Sackville's Legend of Buckingham 
in the Mirrour of Magistrates, Additions 
by Higgins. Account of him. The early 
editions of this Collection. Specimen of 
Higgins's Legend of Cordelia, which has 
been copied by Spenser, 791, 799 

Sec. LI. View of Niccols's edition of the 
Mirrour of Magistrates. High estimation 
of this Collection. Historical plays, 
whence, 799, S09 

Sec. LII. Richard Edwards. Principal 
poet, player, musician, and buffoon, to the 
courts of Mary and Elizabeth. Anecdotes 
of his life. Cotemporary testimonies of 
his merit. A contributor to the Paradise 
ofdaintie Devises. His book of comic 
histories, supposed to have suggested 
Shakespeare's Induction of the Tinker. 
Anecdotes of Antony Munday and Henry 
Chettle. Edwards's songs, '8og, 818 

Sec LIII. Tusser. Remarkable circum- 
stances of his life. His Husbandrie, one 
of our earliest didactic poems, SiS, 8C6 

Sec. LIV. William Forrest's poems. His 
Queen Catharine, an elegant manuscript, 
contains anecdotes of Henry's divorce. 
He collects and preserves ancient music. 
Puritans oppose the study of the classics. 
Lucas Shepherd. John PuUayne. Nu- 
inerous metrical versions of Solomon's 
Song. Censured by Hall the satirist. Re- 
ligious rhymers. Edward More. Boy- 
bishop, and miracle-plays, revived by 
queen Mary. Minute particulars of an 
ancient miracle-play, 826, 83S 

Sec. LV. English language begins to be 
cultivated. Earliest book of Criticism in 
English. Examined. Soon followed by 
others. Early critical systems of the 
French and Italians. New and superb 
editions of Gower and Lydgate. Chau- 
cer's monument erected in Westmin- 
ster-abbey. Chaucer was esteemed by the 
reformers, 839, 855 

Sec. LVI. Sackville's Gordobuc- Our first 
regular tragedy. Its fable, conduct, cha- 
racters, and style. Dumb show. Sackville 
not assisted by Norton, 855, 866 

Sec. LVII. Classical drama revived and 
studied. The Phocniss3£ of Euripides tran- 

slated by Gascolgne. Seneca's Tragedies 
translated. Account of the translators, 
and of their respective versions. Queen 
Elizabeth translates a part of the Her- 
cules Oetasus, 866, 8S0 

Sec. LVIII. Most of the classic poets tran- 
slated before the end of the sixteenth 
century. Phaier's Eneid. Completed by 
Twj'ne. Their other works. Phaier'sBallad 
of Gad's-hill. Stanihurst's Eneid in English 
hexameters. His other worksl Fleming's 
Virgil's Bucolics and Georgics. His other 
works. Webbe and Fraunce translate 
some of the Bucolics. Fraunce's other 
works. Spenser's Culex. The original 
noL genuine. The Ceiris proved to be 
genuine. Nicholas Whyte's Story of Jason 
supposed to be a version of Valerius 
Flaccus. Golding's Ovid's Metamor- 
phoses. His other works. Ascham's 
censure of rhyme. A translation of the 
Fasti revives and circulates the story of 
Lucrece. Eurj'alus and Lucretia. De- 
tached fables of the Metamorphoses 
translated. Moralisations in fashion. 
Underdo wne's Ovid's Ibis. Ovid's Ele- 
gies translated by Marlowe. Remedy of 
Love, by F. L. Epistles by Turberville. 
Lord Essex a translator of Ovid. His 
literary character. Churchyard's Ovid's 
Tristia. Other detached versions from 
Ovid. Ancient meaning and use of the 
word Ballad. Drant's Hoi ace. Criticism 
on Tully's Oration pro Archia, SSo, 905 

Sec. LIX. Kendal's Martial. INIarlowe's 
versions of Coluthus and Museus. General 
character of his Tragedies. Testimonies 
of his cotemporaries. Specimens and 
estimate of his poetrj'. His death. First 
Translation of the Iliad by Arthur Hall. 
Chapman's Homer. His other works. 
Version of Clitophon and Leucippe. 
Origin of the Greek erotic romance. 
Palingenius translated by Googe. Criti- 
cism on the original. Specimen and 
merits of the translation. Googe's other 
works. Incidental stricture on the phil- 
osophy of the Greeks, 905, 924 

Sec. LX. Translation of Italian novels. 
Of Boccace. Paynter's Palace of Plea- 
sure. Other versions of the same sort. 
Early metrical versions of Boccace's 
Theodore and Honoria, and Cymon and 
Iphigenia. Romeus and Juliet. Bandello 
translated. Romances from Bretagnc. 
Plot of Shakespeare's Tempest. Miscel- 
laneous Collections of translated novels 
before the year 1600. Pantheon. Novels 
arbitrarily licenced or suppressed. Refor- 
mation of the English Press, 924, 943 

Sec. LXI. General view and character of the 

poetry of Queen Elizabeth's age, 945, 915 

[Memorandum. — Seciioiis 1 to 61 co^iiphie the three volumes ^to, as published by T. 
Warion. IVhat is giveti in Sections 61 to 66 were found at his death, and appear as ajfrag- 
mentary addition to the preceding volumes. ] 

Secs. LXIL, LXIII., LXIV.,are chiefly 
occupied with criticisms and specimens of 
the productions of Bishop Joseph Hall, the 
first professed English satirist, 952, 986 

Sec. LXV. Marston's ' Scourge of Villany,' 
— satires, epigrams, and dreams, 987, 996 

Sec. LXVI. Remarks on the epigrams and 
satires of Bastard, Davies, Donne, Free- 
man, Rowlands, Weaver, and Watkins.^ — 
Closing abruptly, 997, loio 

On original tit la from 177S to iSth century 
appears, — A. M. 






The Saxon language spoken in England, is distinguished by three 
several epochs, and may therefore be divided into three dialects. The 
first of these is that which the Saxons used, from their entrance into 
this island, till the irruption of the Danes, for the space of 330 years^. 
This has been called the British Saxon : and no monument of it re- 
mains, except a small metrical fragment of the genuine Ccedmon, in- 
serted in Alfred's version of the Venerable Bede's ecclesiastical history^. 
The second is the danish Saxon, which prevailed from the Danish to 
the Norman invasion, A.D. 1066 ; and of which many considerable 
specimens, both in verse ^ and prose, are still preserved : particularly, 
two literal versions of the four gospels^, and the spurious Ctedmon's 
beautiful poetical paraphrase of the Book of Genesis*, and the prophet 
Daniel. The third may be properly styled the Norman Saxon ; 
which began about the time of the Norman accession, and continued 
beyond the reign of Henry the second. He died 11 89. 

The last of these three dialects, with which these annals of English 
Poetry commence, formed a language extremely barbarous, irregular, 
and intractable ; and consequently promises no very striking speci- 

1 The Saxons came into England a.d. 450. 

2 Lib. iv. cap. 24. Some have improperly referred to this dialect the Hakmony or the 
FOUR Gospels, in the Cotton library : the style of which approaches in j)uriiy and antiquity to 
that of the Codex Argenteus. It is Frankish. See Brit. Mus. M.SS. Cotton. Cai-ig. 
A. 7. membran. octavo. This book is supposed to have belonged to king Canute. Eight 
richly illuminated historical pictures are bound up with it, evidently taken from another man- 
uscript, but prob.-ibly of the age of king Stephen. 

^ See Hickcs. Thes. Ling. Vett. Sept. P. i. cap. x.\i. pag. 177. And Prxfat. fol. xiv. 
The curious reader is also referred to a Danish Saxon poem, celebrating the wars which Beo- 
wulf, a noble Dane, descended from the royal stem of bcyldinge, waged against the kings of 
Swcdeland. MSS. Cotton, ut supr. Vitell. A. 15. Cod. membran. ix. fol. 130. Compare, 
written in the style of Cajdmon, a fragment of an ode in praise of the exploits of Brithnoth, 
Ofl'a's caldorman, or general, in a battle fought against the Danes. Ibid. Oth. A. 12. Cod. 
membran. 4to. iii. Brithnoth, the hero of this piece, a Northumbrian, died in the year 991. 

* MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Oxoil Cod. membran. in Pyxid. 4to grand, quadrat. And MSS. Cotton, 
ut supr. Otho. Nor. D. 4. Both these MSS. were written and ornamented in the Saxon times, 
and are of the highest curiosity and antiquity. 

* Printed by Junius, Amst. 1655. The greatest part of the Bodleian manuscript of this 
book, is believed to have been wniten about a.d. iooo. — Cod. Jun. xL membran. fuL 


mens in any species of composition. Its substance was the Danish 
Saxon, adulterated with French. The Saxon indeed, a language sub- 
sisting on uniform principles, and polished by poets and theologists, 
however corrupted by the Danes, had much perspicuity, strength, and 
harmony : but the French imported by the Conqueror and his people, 
was a confused jargon of Teutonic, Gaulish, and vitiated Latin. In 
this fluctuating state of our national speech, the French predominated. 
/ Even before the conquest the Saxon language began to fall into con- 
tempt, and the French, or Frankish, to be substituted in its stead : a 
circumstance, which at once facilitated and foretold the Norman acces- 
sion. In the year 652, it was the common practice of the Anglo- 
Saxons, to send their youth to the monasteries of France for educa- 
tion, (Dug. Mon. I. 89,) and not only the language, but the manners 
of the French, wore esteemed the most polite accomplishments^. In 
the reign of Edward the Confessor, the resort of Normans to the 
English court was so frequent, that the affectation of imitating the 
Frankish customs became almost universal : and the nobility were 
ambitious of catching the Frankish idiom. It was no difficult task for 
the Norman lords to banish that language, of which the natives began 
to be absurdly ashamed. The new invaders commanded the laws to 
be administered in French^. Many charters of monasteries were 
forged in Latirl by the Saxon monks, for the present security of their 
possessions, in consequence of that aversion which the Normans pro- 
fessed to the Saxon tongue^ Even children at school were forbidden 
to read in their native language, and instructed in a knowledge of the 
Norman only. (Ingulph. p. 71. sub. ann. 1066.) In the mean time 
we should have some regard to the general and political state of the 
nation. The natives were so universally reduced to the lowest con- 
dition of neglect and indigence, that the English name became a term 
of reproach : and several generations elapsed, before one family of 
Saxon pedigree was raised to any distinguished honours, or could so 
much as attain the rank of baronage*. Among other instances of that 
absolute and voluntary submission, with which our Saxon ancestors 
received a foreign yoke, it appears that they suffered their hand- 
writing to fall into discredit and disuse (Ingulph, p. 85) ; which by de- 
grees became so difficult and obsolete, that few besides the oldest men 

1 Ingulph. Hist. p. 62. sub. ann. 1043. 

2 But tlicrc is a precept in Saxon from William the first, to the sheriff of Somersetshire 
Hickes. Thes. i. par. i. pag. 106. See also Praifat. ibid. p. .\v. 

3 The Normans, who practiced every specious e.\pedient to plu-nder the monks, demanded a 
sight of the written evidences of the lands. The monks well knew, that it would have been 
useless or impolitic to have producecf these evidences or charters, in the original Sa.\on ; as 
the Normans not only did not understand, but would have recci\ ed with comtempt, instru- 
ments written in that language. Therefore the monks were compelled to the pious fraud of 
forging them in Latin, and great numbers of these forged Latin charters, till lately supposed 
original, are still extant. See Spelman, in Not. ad Concil. Anglic, p. 125. Stillingfl. Orig. 
Ecclc.^. Ihitann. p. 14. M.arsham Pra;lat,ad Dugd. Monast. And Wharton, Ani^l. Sacr. 
vol. ii. Prajfat. p. ii. iii. iv. See also Ingulph. p. 512. Launoy and Mabillou have treated this 
subject with great learning and penetration. 

* See Urompt. Chron. p. 1026. Abb. Rieva). p. 339. 


could understand the characters. (Ingulph, p. 98. ann. 1091.) In the 
year 1095, Wolstan, bishop of Worcester, was deposed by the arbitrary 
Normans : it was objected against him, that he was 'a superannuated 
Enghsh idiot, who could not speak French.' (Matt. Paris, sub. ann.) 
It is true, that in some of the monasteries, partitularly at Croyland 
and Tavistock, founded by Saxon princes, there were regular precep- 
tors in the Saxon language ; but this institution was suffered to remain 
after the conquest, as a matter only of interest and necessity. The re- 
ligious could not otherwise have understood their original charters. 
William's successor, Henry the first, gave an instrument of confirma- 
tion to William archbishop of Canterbury, which was written in the 
Saxon language and letter.^ Yet this is almost a single example. That 
monarch's motive was perhaps political : and he seems to have 
practised this expedient with a view of obliging his queen, who was of 
Saxon lineage ; or with a design of flattering his English subjects, and 
of securing his title already strengthened by a Saxon match, in conse- 
quence of so specious and popular an artifice. It was a common and 
indeed a very natural practice, for the transcribers of Saxon books, to 
change the Saxon orthography for the Norman, and to substitute in 
the place of the original Saxon, Norman words and phrases. A re- 
markable instance of this liberty, which sometimes perplexes and mis- 
leads the critics in Anglo-Saxon literature, appears in a voluminous 
collection of Saxon homilies, preserved in the Bodleian library, and 
wTitten about the time of Henry 11.^ It was with the Saxon characters, 
as with the signature of the cross in public deeds ; which were changed 
into the Nornian mode of seals and subscriptions.^ The Saxon was 
probably spoken in the country, yet not without various adulterations 
from the French : the courtly language was French, yet perhaps with 
some vestiges of the vernacular Saxon. But the nobles, in the reign 
of Henry II, constantly sent their children into France, lest they should 
contract habits of barbarism in their speech, which could not have 
been avoided in an English education.* Robert Holcot, a learned 
Dominican friar, confesses, that in the beginning of the reign of 
Edward III, there was no institution of children in the old English : he 
complains, that they first learned the French, and from the French 
the Latin language. This he observes to have been a practice intro- 
duced by the Conqueror, and to have remained ever since^ There 
is a curious passage relating to this subject in Trevisa's translation of 

1 H. V.'arton, Auctar. Histor. Dogmat. p. 388. Mabillon is mistaken in asserting, that the 
Saxon way of writing was entirely abolished in England at the timcof the Norman conquest. 
Dc Re iJiplomat. p. 52. The I'rench antiquaries are fond of this notion. There are biaxon 
characters in Herbert Losinga's charter for founding the church of Norwich. Temp. Will. Ruf. 
A.D. iiio. Lamb.-irde's Diction. V. Norwich. Hickcs. Thesaur. i. Par. i. p. 149. Pra;fat. 
p. xvi. An intermixture of the Saxon character is common in English and Latin manuscripts, 
before the reign of Edward III : but of a few types only. 

i! MSS. Bodl. NE. K. 4. 12. Cod. membran. fol. 

3 ^'et some Normans charters have the cross. 

* Ger\a-s. Tilbur, de Otiis MSS. Bibl. Bodl. lib. iii. Seedu Chesne, iii. p. 363. 

B Lecu in Libr. Sapient. Lcct. ii. Paris. 1518. 4I0. 


Hygden's Polychronicon^ * Children in scole, agenst the usage and 

* manir of all other nations, beeth compelled for to leva hire owne 

* langage, and forto construe hir lessons and hire thynges in Frenche ; 

* and so they haveth sethe Normans came first into Engelond. Also 

* gentilmen children beeth taught to speke Frensche, from the tyme 
' that they bith rokked in here cradell, and kunneth speke and play 
' with a childes broche : and uplondissche [country] men will likne him- 
' self to gentylmen, and fondeth [delights, tries] with greet besynesse, 
' for to speke Frensche to be told of. This manner was moche used to 
' for first deth [time] and is sith some dele changed. For John Corne- 

waile a maister of grammer, changed the lore in grammer scole, and 

* construction of Frensche into Englische : and Richard Pencriche 
lernede the manere techynge of him as other men of Pencriche. So 

' that now, the yere of oure Lorde 1385, and of the seconde Kyng 

* Richard after the conquest nyne, and [in] alle the grammere scoles of 
Engelond children lereth Frensche and construeth, and lerneth an 

' Englische, &c.' About the same time, or rather before, the students 
of our universities, were ordered to converse in French or Latin^. 
The latter was much affected by the Normans. All the Norman ac- 
compts were in Latin. The plan of the royal revenue-rolls, now called 
the pipe-rolls, were of their construction, and in that language. 

'Among the' Records of the Tower, a great revenue-roll, on many 
sheets of vellum, or Magnus Rotulus, of the Duchy of Normandy, 
for the year 1083, is still preserved ; indorsed, in a ccevel hand. Anno 


WiLLiELMO FiLio Radulfi Senescallo Normannie. This most 
exactly and minutely resembles the pipe-rolls of our exchequer belong- 
ing to the same age, in form, method, and character. Ayloffe's 
Calendar of Ant. Chart. Pref. p. xxiv. edit. Lond. 1774. 4to. 
But from the declension of the barons, and prevalence of the 
commons, most of whom were of English ancestry, the native 
language of England gradually gained ground : till at length the 
interest of the commons so far succeeded with Edward III. that 
an act of parliament was passed, appointing all pleas and proceed- 
ings of law to be carried on in English^ : although the same statute de- 

1 Lib. i. cap. 59. MSS. Coll. S. Johan. Cantabr. But I thiuk it is printed by Caxton and 
Wynkyn de Worde. Robert of Gloucester, who Ivrote about 1280, says much the same, 
edition Hcarne, p. 364. 

2 In the statutes of Oriel College in Oxford, it is ordered, that the scholars, or fellows, 
' siqua inccr se proferant, colloquio Latino, vel saltem Gallico, perfruantur.' Hearne's Troke- 
lowe, pag. 298. These statutes were given 23 Maii, a.d. 1328. I find much the same in- 
junction in the statutes of Exeter Colfege, Oxford, given about 1330. Where they are ordered 
to use, 'Romano aut Gallico saltem sermone.' Hearne's MSS. Collect, num. 132. pag. 73. 
Bibl. Bodl. But in Merton College statutes, mention is made of the Latin only. In cap. x. 
They were given 1271. This was also common in the greater monasteries. In the register of 
'Wykcham, bishop of Winchester, the domicellus of the Prior of Saint Swythin's at Win- 
chester, is ordered to address the bishop, on a certain occasion, in French, a.d. 1398. Registr. 
Par. iii, fol 177. 

3 But the French formularies and terms of law, and particularly the French feudal phrase- 
ology, had taken too deep root to be thus hastily abolished. Hence, long - ''ter the reign t * 


crccs, in the true Norman spirit, that all such picas and proceedings 
should be enrolled in Latin^. Yet this change did not restore either 
the Saxon alphabet or language. It abolished a token of subjection 
and disgrace ; and in some degree, contributed to prevent further 
French inno\ations in the language then used, which yet remained in 
a compound state, and retained a considerable mixture of foreign phra- 
seology. In the mean time, it must be remembered, that this corrup- 
tion of the Saxon was not only owing to the admission of new words, 
occasioned by the new alliance, but to changes of its own forms and 
terminations, arising from reasons we cannot explain^. 

Among the manuscripts of Digby in the Bodleian library at Oxford, 
we find a religious or moral ode, consisting of 191 stanzas, which the 
learned Hickes places just after the conquest^ : but as it contains 
few Norman terms, I am inclined to think it of rather higher antiquity. 
In deference however to so great an authority, I am obliged to mention 
it here ; and especially as it exhibits a regular lyric strophe of four 
lines, the second and fourth of which rhyme together. Although these 
four lines may be perhaps resolved into two Alexandrines ; a measure 
concerning which more will be said hereafter, and of which it will be 
sufficient to remark at present, that it appears to have been used very 
early. For I cannot recollect any strophes of this sort in the elder 
Runic or Saxon poetry ; nor in any of the old Frankish poems, par- 
ticularly of Otfrid a monk of Weissenburgh, who turned the evangelical 
history into Frankish verse about the ninth century, and has left 
several hymns in that language*, of Strieker who celebrated the 
atchievements of Charlemagne^, and of the anonymous author of the 
metrical life of Anno, archbishop of Cologne. The following stanza is 
a specimen : [St. xiv.] 
Sende God biforen him man The while he may to hevene, 

For betere is on elmesse biforen Thanjie ben after sevene.^ 

Edward III, many of our lawyers composed their tracts in French, and reports and some 
statutes were made in that language. Fortescut. de Laud. Leg. Angl. cap. xlviii. 

1 Pulton's Statut. 36 Edw. iii. This was A.D. 1363. The English instrument in 
Rymer is dated 1368. Feed, vii, p. 526. 

2 This subject will be farther illustrated in the next section. 

3 Ling. Vett. Thcs. Part i. p. 222. There is another copy not mentioned by Hickes, in Jesus 
College hbrary at Oxford, MSS. 85. infr. citat. This is entitled, Traciatus quidam in 
Anglico. The Digby manuscript has no title. 

* Petr. Lambec. Comment, de Bibl. Ca;sar Vindebon. pag. 418. 457. 

5 Pctr. Lambec. ubi supr. lib. ii. cap. 5. There is a circumstance belonging to the ancient 
Frankish versification, which, as it greatly illustrates the subject of alliteration, deserves 
lotice here. Otfrid's dedication of his Evangelical history to Lewis the first, king of the 
)riental France, consists of four lined in rhyming couplets : but the first and last line 
of everj' stanza begin and end with the same letter : and the letters of the title of the dedica- 
tion respectively, and the word of the last line of every letrastic. Flaccus Illyricus published 
this work of Otfrid at Dasle, 1571. But I think it has been since more correctly printed by 
Johannes Schilterus. It was written about the year 880. Otfrid was the disciple of Rhabanus 
Deoe JOG bipojten him man, pe lijjile he mai 20 heuene 

Foji berefie ip on elmef pe bipojien Danne ben apteji f euene. 
This is perhaps the true reading, from the Trinity manuscript at Cambridge, written about the 
reign of Henry II. or Richard I. Cod. membran. 8vo. 'J'raclat. I. See Abr. Wheloc. Eccles. 
Hist. Bed. p. 25. 114. , 8 MSS. Digb. A. 4. membran. 


That is, * Let a man send his good works before him to heaven while 
he can : for one alms-giving before death is of more value than seven 
afterwards.' The verses perhaps might have been thus written as two 

Send God biforen him man the while he may to hevene, 
For betere is on almesse biforen, than ben after sevene.^ 

Yet alternate rhyming, applied without regularity, and as rhymes 
accidentally presented themselves, was not uncommon in our early 
poetry, as will appear from other examples. 

Hickes has printed a satire on the monastic profession ; which 
clearly exemplifies the Saxon adulterated by the Norman, and was 
evidently written soon after the conquest, at least before the reign of 
Henry II. The poet begins with describing the land of indolence or 

Fur in see, bi west Spaynge, Is a lond ihote Cokaygne : 

Ther nis lond under hevenriche^ Of wel of godnis hit iliche. 

Thoy paradis bi miri^ and brigt Cokaygn is of fairir sigt. 

What is there in paradis Bot grass, and flure, and greneris ? 

Thoy there be joy*, and gret dute^, There nis met, bot frute. 

There nis halle, bure*", no bench; But watirmanisthurst to quench, &c. 

In the following lines there is a vein of satirical imagination and 
some talent at description. The luxury of the monks is represented 
under the idea of a monastery constructed of various kinds of delicious 
and costly viands. 

There is a wel fair abbei, Of white monkes and of grei, 

Ther beth boures and halles : All of pasteus beth the walles 

Of fleis of fisse, and a rich met. The likefullist that man mai et. 

Fluren cakes beth the schingles^ alle. 

Of church, cloister, bours, and halle. 

The pinnes* beth fat podinges Richmettoprincesandtokinges. — 

Ther is a cloyster fair and ligt, Brod and lang of sembli sigt. 

The pilers of that closter alle Beth iturned of cristale. 

With harlas and capital Of grene jaspe and red coral. 

In the praer is a tree Swithe likeful for to se. 

The rote is gingeur and galingale, The siouns beth al sedwale. 

Trie maces beth the flure. The rind canel of swete odure : 

The frute gilofre of gode smakke. Of cucubcs ther nis no lakke. — 

There beth iiii willis" in the abbei Of trade and halwci. 

Of baumc and eke picment^", Ever ernend^^ to rigt rent^^; 

Of thai strcmis al the molde, Stonis pretiuse^^ and golde, 

Ther is saphir, and uniune, Carbuncle and astiune, 

1 As I recollect, the whole poem is thus exhibited in the Trinity manuscript. 

2 Heaven. Sax. 

3 Mcrrj', chearful. 'Although Paradise is chearful and bright, Cokayiu is a much more 
'beauliful place. * loi. Orig. 5 pleasure. "Buttery. 

7 Shingles. 'The titles, or covering of the house, are of rich cakes.' 8 The Pinnacles. 

8 Fountains. 1* This word will be explained at large hereafter. 
11 Running. Sax. 1=^ Course. Sax. 

13 The Arabian Philosophy imported into Europe, was full of the doctrine of precious stone 


Smfiragde, lugre, and prassiune, Bcril, onyx, toposiune 

Amcthiste and crisolite, Calcedun and epetite^ 

Thcr bcth birddcs niani and fale Throstill, thruisse, and nigtingale, 

Chalandrc, and wodwale, And olhir briddes without tale, 

That stintcth never bi her migt Miri to sing dai and night. 

\Nonnulla desiint^ 

Yite I do yow mo to witte, The gees irostid on the spitte, 

Fleey to that abbai, god hit wot, And gredith^, gees al hote al bote, &c. 

Our author then makes a pertinent transition to a convent of nuns ; 
which he supposes to be very commodiously situated at no great 
distance, and in the same fortunate region of indolence, ease, and 

An other abbai is thcr bi For soth a gret nunnerie ; 

Up a river of swet milk Whar is plente grcte of silk. 

When the summeris dai is hote, The yung nunnes takith a bote, 
And doth ham forth in that river Both with oris and with stere : 
Whan hi beth fur from the abbei Hi makith him nakid for to plei, 
And leith dune in to the brimme And doth him sleilichforto swimme; 
The yung monkes that hi seeth Hi doth ham up and forth hi fleeth, 

And comith to the nunnes anon. And euch monk him takith on, 
And snellich^ berith forth har prei To the mochill grei abbei*. 
And techith the nonnes an oreisun With jambleus^ up and dun". 

This poem was designed to be sung at public festivals'' : a practice, 
of which many instances occur in this work ; and concerning which it 

^ Our old poets are never so happy as when they can get into a catalogue of things or names. 
Observat on the Fairy Queen. 
2 Crieth. Gallo-Franc. 3 Quick, quickly. Gallo-Franc. 

♦ "To the great Abbey of Grey Monks. ' S Lascivious motions. Gambols. Fri-Gambiller 

6 Hickes. Thesaur. i. Part i. p. 231. seq. 'The secular indulgences, particularly the luxury, 
of a female convent, are intended to be represented in the following pa^^age of an antient 
poem, called, A Disputation bytweiu a crystene vion and a Jew, written before the year 
1300. MS. Vernon, fol. 301. 

Till a Nonneri thei came. But I knowe not the name ; 
Ther was mony a derworthe dame^ In dyapre dere" : 

Squizeres^ in vche syde, In the wones* so wyde : 
Hur schul we longe^ abyde, AuntrcsS to heare. 

Thene swithe^ spekcthe he Til a ladi so fre. 
And biddeth that he welcum be ' Sire Water my fccreS' 

Ther was bordb" i clothed clene With schirel" clothes and schene, 
Seppe'l a wasschen'2, 1 wene. And wente to the sete : 

Riche metes was forth brouht. To all men that gode thouht : 
The cristen mon wolde nouht Dr>'iike nor ete. 

Ther was wyn ful clere In mony a feir maserel^, 
Arid other drynkcs that weore dere, In coupes''' ful gret : 

Siththe was schewed him bi Murththe and nuinstralsyl". 
And preyed hem do gladly, With ryal rechetl*'. 

Bi the hordes up thei stode, &c. 

7 As appears from this line. 'Lordinges gode and hende," S:c. It is in MSS. More, Can- 
tabrig. 784. f. I. 

J Dear-worthy. 2 Diaper fine. 3 Squires. Attendants. 4 Rooms. Apartments. 

5 Shall we long. 6 Adventures. 7 Swiftly. Immediately. 

8 My Companion. My Love. He is called afterwards, ' Sire [Sir] Walter of Berwick.' 
'J Tables. 10 Sheer. Clean. " Or 5/Mf, /.f. often. 12 Washed. '^ Mazer. Great cup. 
'•• Cups. 15 Afterwards there was sport and minstrelsy. 

'^ i.e. Recept. Reception. But see Chaucer's Rom. R. v. 6509. Him, woulde I comfort 
and recliete. And Tr. Cress, iii. 350. 


may be sufficient to remark at present, that a Joculator or bard, was 
an officer belonging to the court of William the Conqueror.^ 

Another Norman Saxon poem cited by the same industrious anti- 
quary, is entitled The Life of Saint Margaret. The structure of 
its verification considerably differs from that in the last-mentioned 
piece, and is like the French Alexandrines, But I am of opinion, that 
a pause, or division was intended in the middle of every verse ; and in 
this respect, its verification resembles also that of ALBION'S ENGLAND, 
or Drayton's POLYOLEION, which was a species very common about 
the reign of queen Elizabeth'^, The rhymes are also continued to every 
fourth line. It appears to have been written about the time of the 
crusades. It begins thus : 

Olde ant^ yonge I priet* ou, our folies for to lete, 
Thinketh on god that yef ou wite, our snnnes to bete. 
Here I mai tellen ou, wit wordes faire and swete, 
The vie^ of one maiden was hoten'' Margarete. 
Hire fader wes a patriae, as ic ou tellen may, 
In Auntioge wif eches'' I in the false lay, 
Deves godes® ant dombe, he servid nit and day, 
So deden mony othere that singeth welaway. 
Theodosius was in nome, on Criste ne levede he noutt. 
He levede on the false godes, that weren with honden wroutt. 
Tho that child sculde cristine ben it com well in thoutt, 
Ebed" when it were ibore, to deth it were ibroutt, &c. 
In the sequel, Olibrius, lord of Antioch, who is called a Saracen, falls 
in love with Margaret : but she being a christian, and a candidate for 
canonization, rejects his soUicitations and is thrown into prison. 
Meiden Margarete one nitt in prison lai 
Ho com beforn Olibrius on that other dai. 
Meiden Margarete, lef up upon my lay, 
And Ihu that thou levest on, thou do him al awey, 
Lef on me ant be my wife, ful wel the mai spede. 
Auntioge and Asie scaltou han to mede : 
Ciclatoun^*^ ant purpel pal scaltou have to wede : 
With all the metes of my lond ful vel I seal the ^^fede. 

I His lands are cited in Doomsday Book. 'Gloucesterscire. Berdic, Joculator Regis, 
'habet ili. villas et ibi v. car. nil redd.' An tis, Ord. Gart. ii. 304. _ ; 

" It is worthy of remark, that we find in the collection of ancient northern monuments, 
published by M. Biorner, a poem of some length, said by that author to have been composed 
in the twelfth or thirteenth century. This poem is professedly in rhyme, and the measure like 
that of the heroic Alexandrine of the French poetry. Mallet's Introd. Dannem. &c. ch. xiiL 

3 And. Fr. 4 I direct. Fr. ' I advise you, your, &c.' 5 Life. Fr. 

6 Called. Saxon. ^ Chose a wife. Sax. ' He was married in Antioch.' 

8 'Deaf gods, &c.' 9 In bed. 10 checklaton. See Obs. Fair. Q. i. 194. 

II Hickes. i. 225. The legend oi Seinte yuliaue in the Bodleian library is rather older, but 
of much the same versification. MSS. Bibl. Bodl. NE. 3. xi. membran. 8vo. iii. fol. 36. 
This MSS. I believe to be of the ag« of Henry III. or king John: the composition much 
earlier. It was translated from the llatin. These are the five last lines. 

pl^hen tirihrin fcomeroei jjintJjjeS hij? hj^eate, 
Xnt) jjefipeS jjoer buj-ri chepto hellene heare, 
pe mote beon a cojin 1 sobej- ^ulbene ebene, 
De rujibe ^ip op latin to En^hr^-'he- lebene 
TTnb he fja-t her leaj-t onj^rat y)pi\ aj- he ciif^e. TTMEN. 
That is, ' When the judge at doomsday winnows his wheat and drives the dusty chaff into 


This piece was printed by Hicke3 from a manuscript in Trinity 
college library at Cambridge. It seems to belong to the manuscript 
metrical Lives of the Saints^, which form a very considerable 
volume, and were probably translated or paraphrased from Latin or 
French prose into English rhyme before the year 1200^. We are sure 
that they were written after the year 1 169, as they contain the Life of 
St. Thomas of Becket^. In the Bodleian library are three MSS. 
copies of these Lives of the SAINTS^ in which the Life of St. 

the heat of hc'l ; may there be a corner in god's golden Eden for him who turned this boolc 
'into Latin, 6\;c.' 

1 The same that are mentioned by Heame, from a MSS. of Ralph Sheldon. Hearne's 
Petr. Langt. p. 542. 607. 60S. 609. 611. 628. 670. St. Winifred's Life is printed from the same 
collection by bishop Fleetwood, in his Li/c mid Miracles o/S. U'ini/ved, p. 125. ed. 1713. 

2 It is in fact a metrical history of the festivals of the whole year. The life of the respective 
Saint is described imder every Saint's day, and the institutions of some Sundays, anU feasts 
not taking their rise from saints, are e.\plained, on the plan of the Lcgfnda Anxea, written by 
Jacobus de Voragine, archbishop of Genoa, about the year 1290, from which Caxton, through 
the medium of a French version entitled Legend DoTee, translated his Golden Legend. The 
Festival, or Fcstiall, printed by Wynkin de Worde, is a book of the same sort, yet with 
homilies intermi.\ed. MSS. Marl. 2247. fol. and 2371. 4to. and 2391. 4to. and 2402. 4to. and 
2800. seq. MSS. lives of Saints, detached, and not belonging to this collection, are frequent in 
libraries. The ^7/'tp Patr'im were originally drawn from S. Jerome and Johannes Cassianus. 
In Gresham college library are metrical lives often Saints chiefly from the Golden Legettd, by 
Osberne Bokenham, an Augustine canon in the abbey of Stoke-clare in Suffolk, transcribed 
by Thomas Eurgh at Cambridge 1477. The Life of S. Katharine appears to have been com- 
posed in 1445. MSS. Coll. Gresh. 315. The French translation of the Legenda Aurea was 
made by Jehan de Vignay, a monk, soon after 1300. 

3 Ashmole cites this Life, Instit. Ord. Gart. p. 21. And he cites S. Brandon's Life, p. 507. 
Ashmole's MSS. was in the hands of Silas Taylor. It is now in his Museum at Oxford. MSS. 
Ashm. 50. [7001.] 

* MSS. Bodl. 779, — Laud, L. 70." And they make a considerable part of a prodigious folio 
volume, beautifully written on vellum, and elegantly illuminated, where they have the follow- 
ing title, which also comprehends other antient English religious poems. ' Here begynnen 
'the tytles of the book that is cald in Latyn tonge Anime, and in English tonge 
'SowLE-HEi.E.' It was given to the Bodleian library by Edward Vernon esquire, soon after 
the civil war. I shall cite it under the title of MS. Vernon. Although pieces not absolutely 
religious are sometimes introduced, the scheme of the compiler or transcriber seems to have 
been, to form a complete body of legendary and scriptural history in verse, or rather to collect 
into one view all the religious poetry he could find. Accordingly the Lives of the Saints a> 
distinct and large work of itself, properly constituted a part of his plan. There is another 
copy of the Liiies 0/ the Saints in the British Museum, RISS. Harl. 2277. And in Ashmole's 
Museum, MS.S. Ashm. ut supr. I think this MSS. is also in Bennet college library. The 
Lives seem to be placed according to their respecti/e festivals in the course of the year. The 
Bodleian copy (marked 779.) is a thick folio, containing 310 leaves. The variations in these 
MSS. seem chiefly owing to the transcribers. The Life of St. Margaret in MSS. Bodl. 779. 
begins much like that of Trinity library at Cambridge. 

Old ant yonge I preye you your folyis for to lete, &c. 
I must add here, that in the Harleian library, a few Lives, from the same collection of Lives of 
t/te Saints, ofccur, MSS. 2250. 23. f. 72. b. seq. chart, fol. Also ib. 19. f. 48. These Lives are 
in French rhymes, ib. 2253. f. i. 'The Lives of the Saints in verse, in Bennet library, 
contain the martyrdom and translation of Becket, Num. cl.w. This MSS. is supposed to be 
of the 14th centun,'. Archbishop Parker, jn a remark prefixed, has assigned the composition 
to the reign of Henry II. But in that case, Becket's translation, which did not happen till 
the reign of king John, must have been added. See a specimen in Nasmith's learned Cata- 
LOGtiEof the Bennet MSS., pag. 217. Cantab. 1777. 410. There is a MSS. of these Lives in 
Trinity college library at O.xford, but it has not the Life of Becket. MSS. NiM. lvii. In 
Pergamen. fol. The writing is about the 14th centurj-. I will transcribe a few lijjes from the 

LlFUOfST. CUTHDERT. f. 2. b. 

Seint CuthberJ v/as ybore here in Engclpnde, 

God dude for 1k;ii meraccle, as ze scholleih vnderstonde. 

And wel zong child he was, in his cigtethe zere. 

Wit children he plcydc atte balle, that his felawes weret 

That com go a lite childe, it thozt thre zer old, 

A swetc creature and a f;iyr, yt was myld and bold : 

To the zong Cuthbcrd he zcde, scne brother he scde, 

Nc Jjcnch not such ydell name for it ne ozte nozt be thy dcde : 



Margaret constantly occurs ; but it is not always exactly the same with 
this printed by Hickes. And on the whole, the Bodleian Li\'es seem 
inferior in point of antiquity. I will here give some extracts never yet 

From the Life of Saint S within. 
'Seint Swythan the confessour was her of Engelonde, 
Bisyde Wynchestre he was ibore, as ich undirstonde: 
Ei the kynges dei Egbert this goode was ibore, 
That tho was kyng of Engelonde, and somedele eke bifore; 
The eihtethe he was that com aftur Kinewolfe the kynge, 
That seynt Berin dude to cristendome in Engelonde furst brynge : 
oeynt Austen hedde bifore to cristendom i brouht 
Athelbryt the goode kynge as al the londe nouht. 
AI setthe^ hyt was that seynt Berin her bi west wende. 
And tornede the kynge Kinewolfe as vr lorde grace sende: 
So that Egbert was kyng tho that Swythan was bore 
The eighth was Kinewolfe that so long was bifore, &c. 
Seynt Swythan his bushopricke to al goodnesse drough 
The towne also of Wynchestre he amended inough, 

Seint Cuthberd ne tok no zeme to the childis rede 

And pleyde forth with his felawes, al so they him bede. ^ • ' 

Tho this zonge child y sez that he his red forsok, 
A doun he fel to groundc, and gret del to him to tok, 
It by gan to wepe sore, and his honden wrynge, 
This children hadde alle del of him, and bysened hare pleyinge. 
As that they coiithe hy gladede him, sore he gan so siche. 
At even this zonge child made del y siche, 
A welaway, qd seint Cuthbert, why wepes thou so sore 
Zif we the haveth ozt mysdo we no schoHeth na more. 
Thanne spake this zonge child, sore hy wothe beye, 
Cuthberd it falleth nozt to the with zonge children to pleye. 
For no suche idell games it ni caraeth the to worche, 
^Vhanne god hath y proveyd the an heved of holy cherche. 
With this word, me nyste whidder, this zong child wente, 
, An angel it was of heven that our lord thuder sent. 

Saxon letters are used in this MS. I will exhibit the next twelve lines as they appear ■ 
that mode of writing ; together with the punctuation. 

po by gan seint Cuthberd. for to wepe sore 
He made his fader and frendis. sette him to lore 
So bat he servede bobe nyjt and day. to plese god Jje more 
And in his roughede nyrt and day. of servede godis ore 
1)0 he in grettere elde was. as ^e bok us ha]? y sed 
It by fel fjat seint Aydan. |je bisschop was ded 
Cuthberd was a felde with schep. angeles of heven he sez 
pe bisschopis soule seint Aydan. to heven here on hez 
Alias sede seint Cuthberd. fole ech am to longe 
I nell bis schep no longer kepe. a fonge hem who so a fonge 
He wente to Jje abbeye of Germans, a grey monk he }jcr bycom 
Gret joye made alle jje covent. jjo he that abbyt nom, &c. 
The reader will observe the constant return of the hemistichal point, which I have been 
careful to preserve, and to represent wyh exactness ; as I suspect, that it shews how these 
poems werj sung to the harp by the minstrels. Every line was perhaps uniformly recited to 
the same monotonous modulation, with a pause in the midst : just as we chant the psalms in 
our choral service. In the psalms of our lithurgy, this pause is expressed by a colon : and 
often, in those of the Roman missal, by an asterisc. I'he same mark occurs in every line of 
this manuscript ; which is a folio volume of considerable size, with upviards of fifty verses 
vr svery page. ^ Thus in MSB. Harl. fol. jS. 

Seint Swibbin -ge confe-ssour was here of Engelonde 
Biside Wynchestre hi was ibore as is Tadersiui;dc. • S:.;cp 


Ffor he lette the stronge bruge ^vithoute the tonne arcre 

And fond therto lym and ston and the workmen that ther vvcre^. 

From the Life of Saint Wolstan. 
Seynt Wolston bysscop of Wirceter was then in Ingclonde, 
Swithe holyman was cfll his lyf as ich onderstonde ; 
The while he was a yonge childe good lyf hi ladde ynow, 
Wh^nne other children orne play toward cherche hi drow. 
oeint Edward was tho vr kyng, that now in hevene is, 
And the bisscoppe of Wircester Brytthege is hette I wis, &c. 
Bisscop hym made the holi man seynt Edward vre kynge 
And undirfonge his dignitie, and tok hym cros and ringe. 
His bushopreke he wust wel, and eke his priorie, 
And forcedc him to serve wel god and Seinte Marie. 
Ffour zer he hedde bisscop ibeo and not folliche fyve 
Tho seynt Edward the holi kyng went out of this lyve. 
To gret reuge to al Engelonde, so welaway the stounde, 
Ffor strong men that come sithin and broughte Engelonde to grounde. 
Harald was sithen kynge with tresun, alas ! 
The crowne he bare of England which while hit was. 
As William bastard that was tho duyk of Normaundye 
Thouhte to winne Engelonde thorusg strength and felonye : 
He lette hym greith foulke inouh and gret power with him nom, 
With gret strengthe in the see he him dude and to Engelonde com : 
He lette ordayne his ost wel and his baner up arerede, 
And destruyed all that he fond and that londe sore aferde. 
Harald hereof tell kynge of Engelonde 
He let garke fast his oste agen hym for to stonde: 
His baronage of Engelonde redi was ful sone 
The kyng to helpe and eke himself as riht was to done. 
The warre was then in Engelonde dolefull and strong inouh 
And heore either of othures man al to grounde slouh : 
The Normans and this Englisch men dciy of batayle nom 
There as the abbeye is of the batayle a day togedre com, 
To grounde thei smiit and slowe also, as god yaf the cas, 
William Bastard was above and Harald bi neothe was^ 

From the LIFE of Saint Christopher. 
^Seynt Cristofre was a Sarazin in the londe of Canaan, 
In no stud by him daye mi fond non so strong a man : 
Ffour and twenti feete he was longe, and thikk and brod inouh. 
Such a mon but he weore stronge methinketh hit weore wouh : 
A la cuntre where he was for him wolde fleo, 
Therfore hym ythoughte that no man agcynst him sculde beo. 
He scide he woldc with no man beo but with on that were, 
Hext lord of all men and undir hym non othir were. 

Afterwards he is taken into the service of a king. 

Cristofre hym served longe ; 

The kynge loved melodye much of fithelc* and of songe : 
So that his jogeler on a dai biforen him gon to pleye faste, 

1£ 93. MS. Vernon. 2 MS. Venon. fol. 76. b. Sjfss. Harl. ut supr. fol. loi. b ■•Fiddle. 
Scint Cristofre was Sarazin in ■ge lond of Canaan 
In no stcdc bi his daye nc fond me «o strong a man 
Four and tuenli (f.t he was long and (jiche and brod y-nouT, S:c, 


And in a tyme he nemped in his song the devil atte laste : 
Anon so the kynge that I herde he blessed him anon, &c.i 

From the Life of Saint Patrick. 
Seyn Pateryk com thorii godes grace to preche in Irelonde, 
To teche men ther ryt believe Jehu Cryste to'understonde: 
So ful of wormes that londe he founde that no man ni myghte gon, 
In som stede for wormes that he nas wenemyd anon ; 
Seynt Pateryk bade our lorde Cryst that the londe delyvered were, 
Of thilke foul wormis that none ne com there^. 

From the Life of Saint Thomas of Becket. 
Ther was Gilbert Thomas fadir'name the trewe man and gode 
He lyved God and holi cherche setthe he witte ondirstode-*. 
The cros to the holi cherche in his zouthe he nom, 
. . . myd on Rychard that was his mon to Jerlem com. 
Ther hy dede here pylgrimage in holi stedes faste 
So that among Sarazyns hy wer nom at laste, <S:c.* 

This legend of vSt. Thomas of Becket is exactly in the style of all 
the others ; and as Becket was martyred in the latter part of the reign 
of Henry II. from historical evidence, and as, from various internal 
marks, the language of these legends cannot be older than the twelfth 
century, I think we may fairly pronounce the LiVES OF THE Saints to 
have been writteh about the reign of Richard the firsts 

These metrical narratives of christian faith and perseverance seem 
to have been chiefly composed for the pious amusement, and perhaps 
edification, of the monks in their cloisters. The sumptuous volume of 
religious poems which I have mentioned above*', was undoubtedly 
chained in the cloister, or chuVch, of some capital monastery* It is 
not improbable that the novices were exercised in reciting portions 
from these pieces. In the British Museum^, there is a set of legendary 
tales in rhyme, which appear to have been solemnly pronounced by the 
priest to the people on Sundays and holidays. This sort of poetry* 

1 MSS. Vernon, fol. 119. 2 Bodl. MSS. 7^9. fol. 41. b. 3 MSS. Harl. fol. 195. b. 

Gilbert was Thomas fader name pat true was and god 
And lovede god and holi church sijjjje he wit understod. 
This Harleian MSS. is imperfect in many pas '.s. 
•♦ MSS. Bodl. 7^9. f. 41. b. . 

5 Who died 1 1 99. In the Cotton library 1 find the liv^s of Saint Josapbas and the seven 
sleepers : where the Norman seems to predominate, although Saxon letters are used. Brit. 
Mus. MSS. Cott. CALrc A. ix. Cod. mcmbran. 410. ii. fol. 192. 

Ici continence la vie tjft j*emt lofaphaZj 

Ri Tlout vout a mil bien jientendre 
Per cssamjile poet nilr apprenbre* 
iii. fol. 213. be. Ici commence la v-ie dc Seint Dormanz. 

La vcrtu 6eu lur tut lUf ^ bure E rut lUrz eft ccrfeei«e epUre. 

Many legends and religious pieces in Norman rhyme were written about this time. See 
MSS. Harl. 2253. f I. mcmbr. fol. supr. oitat. p. 14. 

6 Viz. MSS. Vernon. 7 MSS. Harl. 2391. 70. The dialect is perfectly northern. 

8 Tliat legends of saints were sung to the harp at. feasts, appears from The Life oj Saint 
Marine, MSS. Harl. 2253. fol. menib. f. 64. b. 

Herketh hideward and beoth stille, Y praie ou zif hit be or wille. 

And ze shule here of one virgin, That was ycleped saint Maryne. 

And from v.irinus other instances. 


was also sung to the harp by the minstrels on Sundays, instead of the 
romantic subjects usual at public entertainments^. 

In that part of Vernon's MSS. intitled Soulehele, we have a trans- 
lation of the Old and New Testament into verse ; which I believe to 
have been made before the year 1200. The reader will observe the 
fondness of our ancestors for the Alexandrine : at least, I find the lines 
arranged in that measure. 

Oure ladi and hire suster stoden under the roode, 

And scint John and Marie Magdaleyn with wel fori moode; 

Vr ladi bi heold hire swete son i brouht in grot pyne, 

Ffor monnes gultes nouthen her and nothing for myn^, 

Marie weop wel fore and bitter teres leet, 

The teres fullen uppon the ston doun at hire feet. 

Alas, my son, for serwe wel off" seide heo 

Nabbe iche bote the one that hongust on the treoj 

So ful icham of serwe, as any wommon may beo, 

That ischal my deore child in all this pyne iseo: 

How schal I sone deore, how hast i yougt liven withouten the, 

Nusti nevere of serwe nougt sone, what seyst you me? 

Then spake Jhesus wordus gode to his modur dere, 

Ther he heng uppon the roode here I the take a fere, 

That trewliche schal serve ye, thin own cosin Jon, 

The while that you alyye beo among all thi fon : 

Ich the bote Jon, he seide, you wite hire both day and niht 

That the Gywes hire fon ne don hire non un riht, 

Seint John in the stude vr ladi in to the temple nom 

God to serven he hire dude sone so he thider come, 

Hole and seeke heo duden good that hes founden thore 

Heo hire serveden to bond ane foot, the lass and eke the more. 

The pore folke feire heo fedde there, heo sege that hit was neode 

And the seke heo brougte to bedde and met and drinke gon hcom beode, 

Wy at hcore mihte yong and olde hire loveden bothe syke and fer 

As hit was riht for alle and summe to hire servise hedden mester. 

Jon hire was a trew feer, and nolde nougt from hire go. 

He lokid hire as his ladi deore and what heo wolde hit was i do. 

Now blowith this newe fruyt that lat bi gon to springe, 

That to his kuynd heritage monkunne schal bringe, 

This new fruyt of whom I speke is vre cristendome, 

That late was on erthe isow and latir furth hit com. 

So hard and luthur was the lond of whom hit scholde springe 

Some of tliese religious poems contain the usiinl address of the minstrel to the company. Aa 
in a poem of our Saviour s descent into hell, and his discourse there with Sathanas the porter. 
Adam, Eve, Abraham, &c. MSS. ibid. f. 57. 

Alle herkennesh to me now, A strif wolle y tcUen ou : 

Of Jhesu and of Satlian, Tho Jhesu was to hell y-gan. 

Other proofs will occur occasionally. 

1 As I collect from the following poem, MS. Vernon, fol. 229. 
Tlu Visions of Seynt Foul won he ■was raf>t into Pnradys. 

Lnstencih lordynges Icof and dere, '/.v. that wolcn of the Sonday here ; 
The Sonday a day hit is That angels and archangels joy n i wis. 

More to that Uke day Then any odurc, &c. 


That wel unnethe eny rote men mougte thereon bring, 
God hi was the gardener/ &c. 

In the archiepiscopal library at Lambeth, among other Norman- 
Saxon homihes in prose, there is a homily or exhortation on the Lord's 
prayer in verse : which, as it was evidently transcribed rather before 
the reign of Richard the first, we may place with some degree of cer- 
tainty before the year 1185. 

Vre feder that in hevene is That is al sothfuU I was. 

Wee moten to theos weordes iseon That to live and to saule gode been. 
That weo beon swa his sunes iborene 
That he beo feder and we him icorene. 

That we don alle his ibeden And his wille for to reden, &c. 

Lauerde God we biddeth thus Mid edmode heorte gif hit us. 

That vre soule beo to the icore Noht for the flesce for lore. 

Dole us to biwepen vre sunne That we ne sternen noht therunne 

And gif us, lauerd, that ilke gifte 
Thet we lies ibeten thurh holie scrifte. Amen^. 

In the valuable library of Corpus Christi college in Cambridge, is a 
sort of poetical biblical history, extracted from the books of Genesis 
and Exodus. It was probably composed about the reign of Henry II. 
or Richard I. But I am chiefly induced to cite this piece, as it proves 
the excessive attachment of our earliest poets to rhyme : they were 
fond of multiplying the same final sound to the most tedious mono- 
tony; and without producing any effect of elegance, strength, or 
harmony. It begins thus: 

Man og to luuen that rimes ren. The wissed wel the loged men. 
Hu man may him wel loken Tho he ne be lered on no boken. 

Luuen god and serven him ay For he it hem wel gelden may. 

And to al cristenei men Boren pais and luue by twem. 

Than sal him almighti luuven. Here by nethen andthund abuuven, 

And given him blisse and soules reste. 

That him sal eavermor lesten. 
Ut of Latin this song is a dragen On Engleis speche on soche sagen, 
Cristene men ogen ben so fagen. So fuelcs arn quan he it sen dagen. 

Than man hem telled soche tale 

Wid londes speche and wordcs smale 
Of blisses dune, of sorwes dale, Ouhu Lucifer that devel dwale 

And held him sperred in helles male, 

Til god him frid in manliched 
Dede mankinde bote and red. And unswered al the fendes sped 

And halp thor he sag mikel ned Biddi hie singen non other led. 

Thog mad hie folgen idel hed. Fader gode of al thinge, 

Almightin louerd, hegest kinge," Thu give me feli timinge 
To thau men this werdes begininge. The lauerd god to wurthinge 
Oucther so hie rede or singe^. 
We find this accumulation of identical rhymes in the Runic odes, 

1 MS. Vernon, fol. 8. 2 Quart, minor. 185. Cod. raembran. vi f. 21. b, 

3. MSS. R. II. Cod. membran. octavo. It seems 10 be in the northern dialect. 


Particularly in the ode of Egill cited above, entitled Egill's Ransom. 
In the Cotton library a poem is preserved of the same age, on t!" 
subjects of death, judgment, and hell torments, where the rhymes ai- 
singular, and deserve our attention. 

Non mai longe lives wcne Ac ofte him lieth the wrench. 

Feir weithcr turneth ofte into reine 

And thunderlichc hit maketh his blench, 

Tharfore mon thu the biwenche 
At schal falewi thi grcne. Weilawei ! nis kin ne quene 

That ne schal drincke of deathes drench, 
Mon er thu falle of thi bench Thine sunne thu aquenchK 

To the same period of our poetry, I refer a version of St. Jerom's 
French psalter, which occurs in the library of Corpus Christi college 
at Cambridge. The hundredth psalm is thus translated. 

Mirthes to god al erthe that es Serves to louerd in faines, 

In go yhe ai in his siht , In gladnes that is so briht. 

Whites that louerd god is he thus He us made and our self noht us, 
His folk and shep of his fode : In gos his yhates that are gode : 

In schrift his worches belive. In ympnes to him yhe schrive. 

Her}'hes his name for louerde is hende. 
In all his merci do in strende and strande^. 

In the Bodleian library there is a translation of the psalms, which 
much resembles in style and measure this just mentioned. If not the 
same, it is of equal antiquity. The handwriting is of the age of 
Edward II. : certainly not later than his successor. It also contains 
the Nicene creed ^, and some church hymns, versified: but it is muti- 
lated and imperfect. The nineteenth psalm runs thus. 

Hevenes tellen godes blis And wolken shewes hond werk his 

Dal to dai word rise riht, And wisdom shewes niht to niht. 

Of w hilkc that noht is horde thar Steven, 

In al the world out yhodc thar cordc 

And in ende of erthe of tham the worde. 

. . . funne he sette his tclde to stande 

And b. bridegroome a. he als of his lourd commanded 

He gladcn als den to renne the wai 

Ffrem heighist heven hci outcoming ai, 
And his gairenning tilhcht fete, Ne is qwilke mai him from his hete. 
Lagh of louerd unwenncd isse, Turnand saules in to blissc: 

Witness of lourd is ever true Wisdom servand to littell newe: 

Lourd's rihtwisnesse riht hertes famand, 

But of lourd is liht eghcn sighand, 
Drcdc of lourdc hit heli es Domes of love ful sori sothe are ai' 

Rihted in thamsalve are thai, 

1 Bibl. Cotton, MSS. Calic. A. ix.— vL f. 243. 

2 O. G. Cod. mcmbr. 410. 

3 Hicl;es has printed a metrical version of the creed of St. Athanasius. To whom, to avoid 
prolix and obsolete specimens already printed, I refer the reader. Thesaur, P. i. p. 333. 2 
believe it to be of the age of Henry II. ■> Sic. 


More to be beyorned over golde Or ston derwurthi that is holde : 
Wei swetter to mannes wombe Ovir honi and to kombe^. 

This is the beginning of the eighteenth psalm. 

I sal love the Lourd of blisse And in fleming min als so 

And in mine Lourd festnes min esse, And in lesser out of wo^. 

I will add another religious fragment on the crucifixion, in the 
shorter measure, evidently coeval, and intended to be sung to the 

Vyen i o the rode se Jesu nayled to the tre, 

Jesu mi lefman, Ibunder bloe and blodi. 

An hys moder stant him bi, Wepand, and Johan : 

Hys bac wid scwrge iswungen, Hys side depe istungen, 

Ffor sinne and louve of man, Weil anti sinne lete 

An nek wit teres wete Thif i of love can^. 

In the library of Jesus college at Oxford, I have feen a Norman- 
Saxon poem of another cast, yet without much invention or poetry*. 
It is a contest between an owl and a nightingale, about superiority in 
voice and singing; the decision of which is left to the judgment of one 
John de Guldevord^. It is not later than Richard I. The rhymes are 
multiplied, and remarkably interchanged. 

Ich was in one fumere dale In one snwe digele hale, 

I herde ich hold grete tale, And hule" and one nightingale. 

That plait was stif I stare and strong, Sum wile softe I lud among. 

Another agen other sval I let that wole mod ut al. 

I either seide of otheres custe. That alere worste that hi wuste 

I hure and I hure of others songe Hi hold plaidung suthe stronge''. 

The earliest love-song whicli I can discover in our language, is 
among the Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum. I would 
place it before or about the year 1200. It is full of alliteration, and 
has a burthen or chorus. 

1 MSS. Bodl. pergamen. fol. 425. f. 5. 2 Ibid. f. 4. 

3 MSS. Bibl. BodT. B. 3. iS. Th. f. loi. b. (Langb. vi. 209.) 

4 It is also in Bibl. Cotton. MSS. Calig. ix. A. 5. fol. 230. 

6 So it is said in Catal. MSS. Angl. p. 69. But by mistake. Our John de Guldevorde is 
indeed the author of the poem which immediately precedes in the MS.S. as appears by the 
following entry at the end of it, in the hand-writing of the very learned Edward Lhuyd. ' On 
' part of a broken leaf of this MSS. I find these verses written, whereby the author may be 
' guest at. 

' Mayster Johan eu greteth of Guldworde tho, 

' And sendeth eu to seggen that synge he nul he wo, 

'On thisse wife he will endy his songe, 

'God louerde of hevene, bee us alle amonge.' 
The piece is entitled and begins thus : • , 

Ici commence la Passyun Iku Crist en oiglcys. 

I hereth eu one lutele tale that ich eu wille telle. 

As we vyndeth hit iwrite in the godspelle, 

Nis hit nouht of Karlemeyne ne of the Duzpere 

As of Cristes thruwynge, &c. 

It seems to be of equal antiquity with that mentioned in the te.\t. The whole manuscrif ; 
consisting of many detached pieces both in verse and prose, was perhaps written in the reig.' 
of Henry VI. 6 Owl. 7 MSS. Coll. Jef. Oxoa. 86. membr. 


Blow northeme wynd, sent Thou me my suetynge; blow 

Northerne wynd, blou, blou, blou. Ich ot a burdc in borne bryht 
That sully fcmly is on syht, Menskful maiden of myht, 

Fcire ant fre to fonde. In al this wurnliche won, 

A burdc of blod and of bon, Never ^ zete y nufte ^ non 

Lussomore in Londe. Blow, 6-^. With lokkes -* letliche and longc, 

With front ant face feir to fonde ; 

With murthcs monic mote heo monge 
That brid so breme in boure ; With lossuni eie grete and gode, 

Weth browcn blissfoll undirhode. He that rest him on the rode 

That leflych lyf honoure. Blow'', &r^c. 

Hire bire limmes liht 
H}T bleo blynkyth so bryht^ 
A suetly suyre heo hath to holde, 
Ant fyngres feyre forte fold : 
iVIiddel heo hath menskful! small, 
Thcyes, Icgges, fit, and al, 
A lussumladi lasteless, 
A betere burde never was 
Heo ys dere worthe in day, 
Gentil, joly, so the jay, 
Maiden murgest" of mouth 
That nis fickle ne trouth, 
Heo is corall of godnesse, 
Heo is cristal of clarnessCj 
Heo is lilie of largesse, 
Heo is salsecle of suetncsse, 
To lou that leflich y in londe 
From the same collection I 

Ase a lantern a nyht. 
So feore heo is ant fyn. 
With armes, shuldre as mon wokle, 
God wolde hue were myn. 
Hire loveliche chere as cristal ; 
Ywraught of the best ; 

That sweting is and ever wes ; 
Yheryed with the heste, 
Graciouse, stout, and gaye, 
Workliche when she waketh, 
Bi est, bi west, bi north, bi south, 
That such murthes maketh. 
Heo is ruble of riche fulnesse, 
Ant baner of bealtie, 
Heo is parnenke pronesse, 
Ant ladie of lealtie, 
Ytolde as hi as ych understonde, &c J 

have extracted a part of another 
amatorial ditty, of equal antiquity ; which exhibits a stanza of no in- 
elegant or unpleasing structure, and approaching to the octave rhyme 
It is, like the last, formed on alliteration. 

In a fryhte as y con fare framcde Y founde a wet feyr fcnge to fere, 
Heo glystenide ase gold when hit glemcd, 
Nes ner gom so gladly on gere, 
Y wolde wyte in world who hire kcncde 
This burde bryht, zef hire wil were, 
Heo me bed go my gates, lest hire grcmede, 
Ne kept heo non henyngc here^ 
In the following lines a lover compliments his mistress named 

Bytwccn Mcrshe and Averilc when spray beginneth to springe, 

The hitcl fowl hath hyre wyl on hyrc lud to synge, 

Ich libbcm lonclonginge for semlokest of all thynge. 

He may me blysee bringe icham in hire banndonn. 

An hcndy happe ichabbe yhent ichot from hevene it is me scnL 


^Blee, Complexion. 

6 McrricsL 

1 Yet. 2 Knew not. 3 Lively. 

" M.SS. Harl. 2253. fol, mcmbr.-in, f. 72. b. 
8 MSS. ibid. f. 66. 'I'hc pieces wliich I have cited from this mauuscript, appear to be of tbc 
hand-writing of the reign of Edward the firht. 


From all wymmen mi love is lent and lyht on Alisoun, 
On hers here is fayre ynoh, hire browe bronne, hire eye blake, 
With lossum chere he on me lok with middel smal and welymake, 
Bote he me wolle to hire take, &c^. 
The following song, containing a description of the spring, displays 
glimmerings of imagination, and exhibits some faint ideas of poetical 
expression. It is, like the three preceding, of the Norman Saxon 
school, and extracted from the same inexhaustible repository. I 
have transcribed the whole. 

In May hit murgeth when hit dawes^ In dounes with this dueres plawes^, 

Ant lef is lyght on lynde ; Blosmes brideth on the bowes, 

Al this wylde whytes vowes, So wel ych under-fynde. 

The thresteleue* hym threteth so. Away is hijere wynter do, 

When woderove yngeth ferly fere, And blyleth on huere wynter wele, 

That al the wode ryngeth ; The rose rayleth hir rode. 

The leaves on the lyhte wode Waxen all with will ; 

The mone mandeth hire bleo The lilie is lossum to scho ; 

The fengle and the fille Wowes this wilde drakes. 

Mile huere makes. As streme that still 

Mody moneth so doth mo. Ichott ycham on of tho 

For love that likes ille, The mone mandeth hire liht, 

When briddes syngeth breme, Deawes donneth the donnes 

Deores with huere derne rounes, Domes forte deme, 

Wormes woweth under cloude, Wymmen waxith wondir proude, 

So wel hyt wol him seme Yef me shall wonte wile of on 

This weale is wole forgon Ant whyt in wode be fleme^. 

The following hexastic on a similar subject, is the product of the same 
rude period, although the context is rather more intelligible : but it 
otherwise deserve a recital, as it presents an early sketch of a favorite 
and fashionable stanza. 
Lenten ys come with love to tonne, Withblosmen and with briddes ronne. 

That al this blisse bryngeth : Dayes ezes in this dales 
Notes suete of nightingales, Vch foul songe singeth. 

1 MSS. Harl. 2233. fol. membran. f. 69. b. 

2 " It is merry at dawn." ^ Plays. 4 Throstle. Thrush. _ _ 

5 MSS. ibid, ut supr. f. 71. b. ' In the same stile, as it is manifestly of the same antiquity, 
the following little descriptive song, on the Approach of Summer, deserves notice. MSS. 
Harl. 978. f. 5. 

Sumer is i cumen, Lhude sing cuccu : 

Grmveth sed, and blmveth med. And springetk the ivde nu. 

Sing, cuccu, C7ICCU. Awe bletetli after loinb, 

Louth after calve cu ; Bulluc sierteth, 

Bucke -verteth : Murie sing, cuccu : 

IVel sings thu cuccu ; Ne s-wi/c thou never nu. 

That IS, ' Summer is coming : Loud s'ing Cuckow 1 Groweth seed, and bloweth mead, and 
' springeth the wood now. Ewe bleateth .after lamb, loweth cow after calf; bullock starteth, 
'buck verteth -.1 merry sing, Cuckow ! Well singest thou, Cuckow, Nor cease to sing now. 
This is themost ancient English song that appears in our manu.scripts, with the musical notes 
annexed. The music is of that species of composision which is called Cation in tlic Unison, and 
b supposed to be of the fifteenth century. 

6 MSS. ibid, f 71. b. 

1 Goes to harbour among the fern. 


This specimen will not be improperly succeeded by the following 
elegant lines, which a contemporary poet appears to have made in a 
morning walk from. Peterborough on the blessed Virgin ; but 
whose genius seems better adapted to descriptive than religious 

Now skruketh rose and lylie flour, 
That whilcn ber that suete favour 

In somer, that suete tyde ; 
Ne is no quene so stark ne stour, 
Ne no luedy so bryht in bour. 
That ded ne shal by glyde ; 
Whoso wol fleshye lust for-gon and hevene-blisse abyde 
On Jhesu be is thoht anon, that tharled was ys side^. 
To which we may add a song, probably written by the same author, 
on the five joys of the blessed Virgin. 

Ase y me rod this ender day, 
By grene wode, to seche play ; 
Mid herte y thohte al on a May. 
Sueteste of al thing ; 
Lithe, and ich on tell may al of that suete thinge^. 
In the same pastoral vein, a lover, perhaps of the reign of king 
John, thus addresses his mistress, whom he supposes to be the most 
beautiful girl, ' Bituene Lyncolne and Lyndeseye, Northampton and 

When the nytenhale singes the wodes waxen grene, 

Lef, gras, and blosme, springes in Avril y wene. 

Ant love is to myn harte gon with one spere so kene 

Nyht and day my blood hit drynkes myn hart deth me tene*. 
Nor are these verses unplcasing in somewhat the same measure. 

My dcth y love, my lyf ich nate for a levedy shene, 

Heo is brith so dales liht, that is on me wel sene. 

Al y falcwe so doth the lef in somir when hit is grene, 

Zef mi thoht helpeth me noht to whom schal I me mene? 

Ich have loved at this yere that y may love na more 

Ich have sicked moni syh, lemon, for thin ore, 

. . . my love never the ner and that mc reweth sore ; 

Suete lemon thenck on me ich have loved the sore, 

Suete lemon, I preye the, of love one spcche. 

While y lyve in worlde so wyde other nill I seche^ 
Another, in the following little poem, enigmatically compares his 
mistress, whose name seems to be Joan, to various gems and flowers. 
The writer is happy in his alliteration, and his verses are tolerably 

Ic hot a burdc in a bour, ase beryl so bryght 

Ase saphyr ih selver scmely on syht, 

I Ibid. f. 80. 2 MSS. ibid. f. 81. b. 3 London. * Ibid. f. 80. b. » Ibid. f. 8< 


Ase jaspe^ the gentil that lemeth^ with lyht, 

Ase gernet in^ golde and rubye wel ryht, 

Ase onycle^ he is on y holden on hyht ; 

Ase diamand the dere in day when he is dyht: 

He is coral yend with Cayser and knyght, 

Ase enieraude a morewen this may haveth myht. 

The myht of the margaryte haveth this mai mere, 

Ffor charbocele iche hire chase bi chyn and bi chere, 

Hire rede ys as rose that red ys on ryse^, 

With hlye white leves lossum he ys, 

The primros he passeth, the penenke of prys, 

With ahsaundre thareto ache and anys : 

^Coynte as columbine such hire'' cande ys, 

Glad under gore in gro and in grys 

Heo is blosme upon bleo brihtest under bis 

With celydone ant sange as thou thi self sys, 

From Weye he is wisist into Wyrhale, 

Hire nome is in a note of the nyhtegale ; 

In a note is hire nome nempneth hit non 

Who so ryht redeth ronne to Johon*. 

The curious Harleian volume, to which we are so largely indebted 

has preserved a moral tale, a Comparison between age and youth, 

where the stanza is remarkably constructed. The various sorts of 

versification which we have already seen, evidently prove, that much 

poetry had been written, and that the art had been greatly cultivated 

before this period. 

Herkne to my ron, ^r u j i ^ 

A • 1 4. 11 Of elde a( oou yt ^es. 

As ich ou tell con, ■' ^ i> ■ > 

Ofamody mon, c- n -.j j t 

tj-T,*-^ i\T • ■ ooui without les 

Hihte Maxmiion, 

Clerc he was ful god, a^ ? ? 7 •, 

bo mom mon undirstod 

For the same reason a sort of elegy on our Saviour's cruificion 

should not be omitted. It begins thus : 

I syke when y singe for sorev/e that y se 

When y with wyping" bihold upon the tre, 

Ant se Jhesu the fuete 

Is hert blod for-lete, 

P'or the love of me ; 

Ys woundes waxen wete, 

Thei wepen, still and mete, 

Marie reneweth me^". 

Nor an alliterative ode on l^eaven, death, judgement, &c, 

Middel-erd for mon was mad, 

Un mihti aren is meste mede, 

This hcdy hath on honde yhad. 

That hevene hem is haste to hede, 

1 Jxspcr. 2 Streams shines. 8 Garnet. 4 Onyx. 6 Quaint. 6 White complexiotl. 
7 Branch. 8 MSS. ibid. f. 63. 9 Ibid. f. 83. 10 Ibid. f. Sa 


Ich erdc a blisse budel us bade, ^j^^^ j^^ j^^^^ ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^_ 

The drcn domesdai to dredc, 
Of sinful sauhting sone he sad, 
That dcrne doth this dcrne dede, 
This wrakefall vverkes under wede, 
In soule soteleth sone^. 

Many of these measures were adopted from the French chansons^. 
I will add one or two more specimens. 
On our Saviour's Passion and Death. 

Jesu for thi muchele might Thou zef us of thi grace, 

That we mowe day and nyht Thenken of thi face 

In myn hert it doth me god, When y thenke on Jhesu blod 

That ran down bi ys syde ; From is harte doune to ys fote, 
For ous he spradde is harte blode, His wondes were so wyde^. 
On the same subject. 

Lutei wot hit any mon 

How love hym haveth y bouftde, 
"That for us o the rode ron, 

Ant boht us with is wonde ; 
The love of him us haveth y maked found, 
And y cast the grimly gost to ground ; 
Ever and oo, nyht and day, he haveth us in his thothe, 
He nul nout leose that he so deore boht*. 

The following are on love and gallantry. The poet, named 
Richard, professes himself to have been a great writer of love songs. 

Weping haveth myn wonges wet, Forwilkedworke'antwoneof wyt, 

Untalithe y be tyl y ha bet, Bruches broken ase bok byt ; 

Of levcdis love that y ha let, That lemeth al with luefly lyt, 

Ofte in songe y have hem set That is unscmly ther hit fyt. 

Hit fyt and scmethe noht, Ther hit ys seid in song 

That y have of them wroht, Y wis hit is all wrong*. 

It was customary with the early scribes, when stanzas consisted ol 
short lines, to throw them together like prose. As thus : 

' A wayle whiyt as whalles bon | a grein in golde that godly shon | a 
* tortle that min hart is on j in tonnes trewe | Hire gladship nes never 
gon I while y may ylewe^.' 

Sometimes they wrote three or four verses together as one line. 
With longy^nge y am lad | onmokley waxemad | amaidcmarrcthme. 
Y grede y grone un glad | for sclden y am sad | that semcly for te see. 
Levedi thou wewe me | to routhe thou havcst me rad | be bote of 
that y bad | my lyf is long on the'. 


1 Ibid. f. 62. b. 2 See MSS. Harl. ut. supr. f. 49. 76. 

3 Ibid. f. 79. Probably this song has been somewhat modernised by transcribers. 
* Ibid. f. 128. These lines afterwards occur, burlesijucd and parodied, by a writer of the 
same a;;e. 
5 Ibid. f. 66. 6 Ut supr. f. 67. 7 Ibid. 63. b. 


Most i rydden by rybbes dale | wilde wymmen for te wale | ant 

welde wreck ich wolde : 
Founde were the feirest on | that ever was mad of blod ant bon — in 

boure best with blode^. 

This mode of writing is not uncommon in ancient manuscripts of 
French poetry. And some critics may be inclined to suspect, that the 
verses which we call Alexandrine, accidentally assumed their form 
merely from the practice of absurd transcribers, who frugally chose to 
fdl their pages to the extremity, and violated the metrical structure for 
the sake of saving their vellum. It is certain, thatthe common stanza of 
four short lines may be reduced into two Alexdrines,and on the contrary'. 
I have before observed, that the Saxon poem cited by Hickes consisting 
of one hundred and ninety-one stanzas, is written in stanzas in the 
Bodleian, and in Alexandrines in the Trinity manuscript at Cam- 
bridge. How it came originally from the poet I will not pretend to 

Our early poetry often appears in satirical pieces on the established 
and eminent professions. And the writers, as we have already seen, 
succeeded not amiss when they cloathed their satire in allegory. But 
nothing can be conceived more scurrilous and illiberal than their 
satires when they descend to mere invective. In the British Museum, 
among other examples which I could mention, we have a satirical 
ballad on the lawyers^, and another on the clergy, or rather some 
particular bishop. The latter begins thus : 

HjTd-men hatieth ant vch mones hyne. 
For ever uch a parosshe heo polketh in pyne 
Ant clastreth wyf heore celle : 
Nou wol vch fol clerc that is fayly 
Wend to the byshop ant bugge bayly, 
Nys no wyt in is nolle^ 

The elder French poetry abounds in allegorical satire : and I doubt 
not that the author of the satire on the monastic profession, cited 
above copied some French satire on the subject. Satire was one 
species of the poetry of the Provencal troubadours. Anselm Fayditt, a 
troubadour of the eleventh century, who will again be mentioned, 
wrote a sort of satirical drama, called the Heresy of the Fathers, 
HEREGIA DEL Preyres, a ridicule on the council which condemned 
the Albigenses. The papal legates often fell under the lash of these 
poets ; whose favour they were obliged to court, but in vain, by the 
promise of ample gratuities*. • Hugucs de Bcrcy, a French monk, 
wrote in the twelfth century a very lively and severe satire ; in which 
no person, not even himself, was spared, and which he called the 
Bible, as containing nothing but truths 

1 Ibid. f. 66. 2 MSS. ut supr. f, 70. b. 3 Ibid. f. 71. 

* Fauchett, Rec. p. 141 ^ Fontenelle, Hist. Theatr. Fr. p. 18. edit. 1742. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 3 1 

In the Harleian manuscripts I find an ancient French poem, yet 
respecting England, which is a humorous panegyric on a new rcHgious 
order called Le Ordre de bel Eyse. This is the exordium. 

Qui vodra a moi entendre Oyr purra e aprcndre 

L'estoyre de un Ordre Novel Oc mout est delitous bel. 

The poet ingeniously feigns, that his new monastic order consists of 
the most eminent nobility and gentry of both sexes, who inhabit the 
monasteries assigned to it promiscuously ; and that no person is ex- 
cluded from this establishment who can support the rank of a gentle- 
man. They are bound by their statutes to live in perpetual idleness 
and luxury : and the satyrist refers them for a pattern or rule of prac- 
tice in these important articles, to the monasteries of Sempringham in 
Lincolnshire, Beverley in Yorkshire, the Knights Hospitalers, and 
many other religious orders then flourishing in England.^ 

WTien we consider the feudal manners, and the magnificence of our 
Norman ancestors, their love of military glory, the enthusiasm with 
which they engaged in the crusades, and the wonders to which they 
must have been familiarised from those eastern enterprises we naturally 
suppose what will hereafter be more particularly proved, that their 
retinues abounded with minstrels and harpers, and that their chief 
entertainment was to listen to the recital of romantic and martial 
adventures. But I have been much disappointed in my searches after 
the metrical tales which must have prevailed in their times. Most of 
those old heroic songs are perished, together with the stately castles in 
whose halls they were sung. Yet they are not so totally lost as we 
may be apt to imagine. Many of them still partly exist in the old 
English metrical romances, which will be mentioned in their proper 
places ; yet divested of their original form, polished in their style, 
adorned with new incidents, successively modernised by repeated 
transcription and recitation, and retaining little more than the outlines 
of the original composition. This has not been the case of the 
legendary and other religious poems written soon after the conquest, 
manuscripts of which abound in our libraries. From the nature of 
their subject they were less popular and common ; and being less 
frequently recited, they became' less liable to perpetual innovation 
or alteration. 

The most antient English metrical romance which 1 can discover is 
entitled the Geste of King Horn. It was evidently written after 
the crusades had begun, is mentioned by Chaucer 2, and probably still 
remains in its original state. I will first give the substance of the 
story, and afterwards add some specimens of the composition. But I 
must premise, that this story occurs in very old French metre in thc; 
MSS. of the British Museum ^, so that probably it is a translation : a 

I MSS. ibid. f. 121 2 Rim. Thop. 3402. Urr. 3 MSS. Harl. 527. h f. 59. Cod mem. 


circumstance which will throw light on an argument pursued here- 
after, proving that most of our metrical romances are translated from 
the French. 

Mury, king of the Saracens, lands in the kingdom of Suddene, where 
he kills the king named Allof. The queen, Godylt, escapes ; but 
Mury seizes on her son Home, a beautiful youth aged fifteen years, 
and puts him into a galley, with two of his play-fellows, Achulph and 
Fykenyld : the vessel being driven on the coast of the kingdom of 
Westnesse, the young prince is found by Aylmar king of that country-, 
brought to court, and delivered by Athelbrus his steward, to be 
educated in hawking, harping, titling, and other courtly accomplish- 
ffietits. Here the princess Rymenild falls in love with him, declares 
her passion, and is betrothed. Home, in consequence of this engage- 
ment, leaves the princess for seven years ; to demonstrate, according 
to the ritual of chivalry, that by seeking and accomplishing dangerous 
enterpriseshe deserved her affection. He proves a m.ost valorous and 
invincible knight : and at the end of seven years, having killed king 
Mury, recovered his father's kingdom, and atchieved many signal ex- 
ploits, recovers the princess Rymenild from the hands of his treacherous 
knight and companion Fykenyld ; carries her in triumph to his own 
country, and there reigns with her in great splendour and prosperity. 
The poem itself begins and proceeds thus : 

Alle heo ben blythe, that to my songe ylythe^ : 

A songe yet ulle ou singe of AUoff the god kynge, 

Kynge he was by weste the whiles hit y leste ; 

And Godylt his gode quene, no feyrore myhte bene, 

Ant huere sone hihte Home, feyrore childe ne myhte be borne : 

For reyne ne myhte by ryne ne sonne myhte shine 

Feyror childe than he was, bryht so ever eny glas. 

So whyte so eny lilye floure, so rose red was his colour ; 

He was feyre ant eke bold, and of fyfteene wynter old, 

This non his yliche in none kinges ryche. 

Tueye feren^ he hadde, that he with him ladde, 

Al rychemenne sonne and al suyth feyre gromes, 

Weth hem forte pley anuste^ he loved tueye, 

That on was hoten Achulph child, and that other Ffykenild, 

Aculph was the best, and Ffykenyld the werste, 

Yt was upon a somersday also, as ich one telle may, 

Allof the gode kynge rode upon his pleying, 

Bi the se side, there he was woned to ride ; 

With him ne ryde bot tuo, at to felde.hue were the : 

He fond bi the stronde, aryved on is lond, 

Shipes systcne of Sarazins kene : 

He asked what hue sohten other on his lond brohten. 

But I hasten to that part of the story where prince Home appears 
at the court of the king of Westnesse. 

1 Listen. * Companions. 8 Alike. 


The kyng com into hall, among his knyghtes alle, 

Forth he clcpcd .'Vthclbrus, his stewarde, him scydc thus : 

' Steward tal thou here my fundling for to lere, 

' Of some mysterc of woode and of ryvere^, 

' And toggcn othe harpc with his naylcs sharpe^, 

' And teche at the listes that thou ever wistes, 

' Byfore mc to kerven, and of my course to scrven^, 

* Ant his feren dcvyse without other surmise ; 

' liornc-childc, thou undcrstond, teche hym of harpe and songe.' 

Athclbrus gon leren Home and hyse seren ; 

Korne mid herte laghte al that mon hym taghte, 

Within court and withoute, and overall aboute, 

Lovede men Horne-child, and most him loved Ymenild 

The kinges owne dothter, for he was in hire thohte, 

Hire loved him in hire mod, for he was faire and eke gode. 

And that tyne ne dorste at worde and myd hem spek ner a worde, 

Ne in the halle, amonge the knyhtes alle, 

Hyre forewe and hire payne nolde never fayne, 

Ei daye ne bi nyhte for here speke ne myhte. 

With Home that was so feir and fre, tho hue ne myhte with him be, 

In herte hue had care and wo, and thus hire bihote hire tho ; 

Hue sende hyre sonde Athclbrus to honde. 

That he come here to, and also childe Home do, 

In to hire boure, for hue bigon to loure, 

And the fond* sayde, thafseek was the maydc, 

And bed hym quyke for hue nis non blyke. 

The stewarde wis in huerte w^o, for he wist whit he shulde do, 

That Rymenyld byfohte gret wonder him thohte ; 

About Home he yinge to boure forte bringe. 

He thohte en his mode hit nes for none gode ; 

He toke with him another, Athulph Home's brother^, 

' Athulph, quoth he, r\-ht anon thou shalt with mc to boure gon, 

' To spoke with Rymenyld stille, and to wyte hire wille, 

' Thou art Home's ylichc, thou shalt hire iDy suykc, 

* Sore me adrede that hire wil Home mys rede.' 

1 So Robert de Brunne of king Marian. Hearne's Rob. Gloc. p. 622. 

— Marian faire in chere He couthe of wod and ryvere 

In alie maner of venrie, &c. 

- In another part of the poem he is introduced playing on his harpe. 
Horne*fett hi abenche, his harpc he gan clenche. 
He made Rymeiiild a lay ant he seide weilaway, &c. 
In the chamber of a bishop of Winchester at Merdon castle, now ruined, we find mention 
made of benches only. Comp. MS.S. J. Gerveys, Episcop. Winton 1266. ' lidem red. comp. 
' de ii. mcnfis in aula ad magnum dcscum. Et de iii. mentis, ex una parte, et ii. mcnfis e.x altera 
'parte cum trcssellis in aula. Et de i. mensa cum tressellLs in camera dom, episcopi. Et v. 
Gonitis in eadem camera.' Descus, in old English dees, is properly a canopy over the high 
table. See a curious account of the goods in the palace of the bishop of Nivernois in France 
inthc year 1287, in Montf. Cat. MSS. ii. p. 984. col. 3. 

^ According to the rules of chivalrj', every knight before his creation passed through two 
ofiices. He was first a page ; and at fourteen years of age he was formally admitted an esquire. 
The esquires were divided into several departments ; that of the body, of the chamber, of 
the stable, and the carving esquire. The latter stood in the hall at dinner^ where he carved 
the different dishes with proper sl:ill .".nd address, and directed the distribution of them among 
the guests. 'J"he inferior offices had also their respective esquires. Mem. anc. Cheval. L 16. 
seq. 4 Messenger. 5 Companion, friend. 


Athelbrus and Athulf tho to hire boure both ygo, 
Upon Athulf childe Rymenilde con wox wilde, 
Hue wende Home it were, that you hadde there ; 
Hue setten adovvn stille, and seyden hire wille, 
In her armes tweye Athulf she con leye, 

* Home, quoth heo, wellong I have lovcde thee strong, 
'Thou shalt thy truth .plyht in myne honde with ryht, 

* Me to spouse welde and iche loverde to helde.' 
So stille so hit were, Athulf seide in her ere, 

' Ne tel thou no more speche may y the byseche 

' Thi tale — thou linne, for Home his nout his ynne, &c.* 

At length the princess finds she has been deceived, the steward is 
severely reprimanded, and Prince Home is brought to her chamber ; 
when, says the poet, 

Of is fayre syhte al that boure gan lyhte^ 

It is the force of the story in these pieces that chiefly engages our 
attention. The minstrels had no idea of conducting and describing 
a delicate situation. The general maimers were gross, and the arts 
of writing unknown. Yet this simplicity sometimes pleases more than 
the most artificial touches. In the mean timej the pictures of ancient 
manners presented by these early writers, strongly interest the 
imagination : especially as having the same uncommon merit with the 
pictures of manners in Homer, that of being founded in truth and 
reality, and actually painted from the life. To talk of the grossness 
and absurdity of such manners is little to the purpose ; the poet is 
only concerned in the justness and faithfulness of the representation. 


Hitherto we have been engaged in examining the state of our 
poetry from the conquest to the year 1200, or rather afterwards. It 
will appear to have made no very rapid improvement from that period. 
Yet as we proceed, we shall find the language losing much of its 
antient barbarism and obscurity, and approaching more nearly to 
the dialect of modern times. 

In the latter end of the reign of Hcnly the third, a poem occurs, 
the date of which may be determined with some degree of cer- 
tainty. It is a satirical song, or ballad, written by one of the 
adherents of Simon de ]\IontTort earl of Leicester, a powerful baron, 
soon after the battle of Lewes, which was fought in the year 1264, 
and proved very fatal to the interests of the king. In this decisive 

1 MSS. ibid. f. S3. WTicrc tho title is written, ' Jje geste of kynge Home." Th.;re is a 
copy, much altered and modernised, in the Advocates library at Edinburgh, W. 4. i. Numb. 
xxxiv. The title Ilorii-cliild and lilaideii Rinivcl. The beginning, 

jMi leve frcndc derc, Hcrkcn and ye shall here. 


action, Richard king of the Romans, his brother Henry III, and 
prince Edward, with many others of the royal party, were taken 

I. — Sittcth alia stille, ant herkeneth to me : 
The kynge of Alemaigne^ bi mi leaute^, 
Thritti thousent pound askede he 
For te make the pees^ in the countre'', 
And so so he dude more. 
Richard, thah^ thou be ever tricchard", 
Tricthen shall thou never more. 

II. — Richard of Alemaigne, whil that he was kying, 
He spende al is tresour opon fwyvyng, 
Havcth he nout of Walingford oferlyng^, 
Let him habbe, ase he brew, bale to diyng^, 

Maugre Wyndesore^, 
Richard, thah thou, &c. 

III. — The kyng of Alemaigne wende do ful wel,^" 
He saisede the mulne for a castel,^^ 
With hare^^ shai-pe swerdes he grounde the stel, 
He wende that he sayles were mangoneP^. 
To help Wyndesore. 
Richard, thah thou, &c. 

IV. — The kyng of Alemaigne gederede" ys ost, 
Makede hym a castcl of a mulne post^* 
Wende with is prude^^, ant is muckele bost, 
Brohtc from Almayne mony sori gost^'^ 
To store Wyndesore. 
Richard, thah thou, &c. 

I The king of the Romans. 2 Loyalty. 3 Peace. 

* The barons made this offer of thirty thousand pounds to Richard. 
5 Though. 6 Treacherous. 

7 Overlying, i.e., superior. But perhaps the word is osterlyng, for esterlyne, a French piece 
of money. Wallingford was one of the honours conferred on Richard, it Bis marriage with 
Sanchia daughter of the count of Provence. 

8 ' Let him have, as he brews, poison to drink.' 

3 Windsor-castle was one of the king's chief fortresses. 
10 Thought to do full well,' 

II Some old chronicles relate, that at the battle of Lewes Richard was taken in a windmill, 
Hcarno MSS. Coll. vol. io6. p. 82. Robert of Gloucester mentions tlie same circumstance 
edit. Heame, p. 547. 

The king of Alemaigne was in a windmiille income. 
Richard and prince Edward took shelter in the Grey-friars at Lewes, but were afterwards inv 
prisoned in the castle of Wallingford. Hcarne's Laiigtoft, Gloss, p. 616. And Rob. Glouc 
p. 543. Robert de Brunne, a poet of whom I shall speak at large in his proper place, tran- 
slates the onset of this battle with some spirit, edit. Hearno, p. 217. 

Symon come to the felde, and put up his banere. 

The king schcwcd forth his schcldc, his dragon ful austere : 

The kyng said on hie, ieo vous dcjie, &c. 

12 Their. 13 Batlcring-rams. 14 Gathered. 15 Mill-post. 16 Pride. 
17 He brought with him many foreigners, when he returned to England, from taking posses- 
sion of his di,.;nily of king of the Romans. 'J'his gave great offence to the barons. It is her 
insinuated, that he intended to garrison Wiiid?or-cnstle with these foreigners. The baron 
obliged him to dismiss most of them boon after he landed in England. 


V. — By god that is aboven ous he dude muche synnc, 
That let passen over see the erl of Warynne^ : 
He hath robbed Engelond, the mores, ant the fcnne, 
The gold, ant the selver, and y-boren henne, 
For love of Wyndesore. 
Richard, thah thou, &c. 

VI. — Syre Simonde de Mountfort hath suore bi ys chyn, 
Hevede^ he nou here the erle of Waryn, 
Shuld he never more come to is yn^, 
Ne with shelde, ne with spere, ne with other gyn*, 
To help of Wyndesore : 
Richard, thah thou, &c, 

VII. — Sire Simond de JMontfort hath swore bi-ys fot, 
Hevede he nou here Sire Hue of de Bigot, 
Al he shulde grante hen twelfemonth scot^ 
Shulde he never more with his sot pot, 
To help Wyndefore. 
Richard thah thou, &c. ' 

These popular rhymes had probably no small influence in encourag- 
ing Leicester's partisans, and diffusing his faction. There is some 
humour in imagining that Richard supposed the windmill to which he 
retreated, to be a fortitication ; and that he believed the sails of it to 
be military engines. In the manuscript from which this specimen is 
transcribed, immediately follows a song in French, seemingly written 
by the same poet, on the battle of Evesham, fought the following year : 
in which Leicester was killed, and his rebellious barons defeated". 
Our poet looks upon his hero as a martyr ; and particularly laments 
the loss of Heniy his son, and Hugh le Despenser justiciary of 
England. He concludes with an English stanza, much in the style 
and spirit of those last quoted. 

A learned and ingenious writer, in a work which places the study of 
the law in a new light, and proves it to be an entertaining history of 
manners, has observed, that this ballad on Richard of Alemaigne pro- 
bably occasioned a statute against libels in the year 1275, under the 
title, ' Against slanderous reports, or tales to cause discord betwixt 
king and people''.' That this spirit was growing to an extravagance 
which deserved to be checked, we shall have occasion to bring further 

1 The carl of Warren and Surrey, and Hugh le Bigot the king's justiciaiy, mentioned in the 
seventh stanza, had lied into France. 

- Had. 3 Habitation, home. 4 Engine, Weapon. 

5 Year's tax. I had transcribed this ballad from the British Museum, and written these few 
cursory explanations, before I knew that it was printed in the second edition of doctor Percy's 
ballads, ii. i. MSS. Harl. w supr. f. 58. b. 

6 f. 59. It begins, 

Chaunter mestoit | mon ever le voit | en un dure langage, 

Tut en pluraunt | first fet le chaunt | de noitre duz Baronage, &.C. 


fjC6. p. 71. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 2)7 

I must not pass over the reign of Henry III, -who died in tlic year 
1272, without obser\-ing, that this monarch entertained in his court a 
poet with a certain salary, whose name was Henry de Avranches^. 
And although this poet was a Frenchman, and most probably wrote in 
French, yet this first instance of an officer who was afterwards, yet 
with sufficient impropriety, denominated a poet laureate in the English 
court, deservedly claims particular notice in the course of these annals. 
He is called Master He^iry the Versifier'^ : which appellation perhaps 
implies a different character from the royal Minstrel or Jocidator. 
The king's treasurers are ordered to pay this Master Henry one 
hundred shillings, which I suppose to have been a year's stipend, in 
the year 1251^ And again the same precept occurs under the year 
1249*. Our Master Henry, it seems, had in some of his verses re- 
flected on the rusticity of the Cornish men. This insult was resented 
in a Latin satire now remaining, written by Michael Blaunpayne, a 
native of Cornwall, and recited by the author in the presence of Hugh 
abbot of Westminster, Hugh de Mortimer official of the archbishop of 
Canterbury, the bishop elect of Winchester, and the bishop of 
Rochester^. While we are speaking of the Versifier of Henry HI, it 
will not be foreign to add, that in the 36th year of the same king, forty 
shillings and one pipe of wine were given to Richard the king's harper, 
and one pipe of wine to -Beatrice his wife". But why this gratuity of a 
pipe of wine should also be made to his wife, as well as to the husband, 

1 Carew's Surv. Comw. p. 58 edit. 1602. 

- Henry of Huntingdon says that Walo Vcrdficator wrote a paneg^^ic on Henry the first. 
Ar.d that the same Walo Versijicaior wiole a poem on the park which that king made at 
Woodstock. Apud I..eland's Collectan. vol. ii. 303. i. 197. edit 1770. Perhaps he .. as in 
the department of Henry mentioned in the text. One Gualo, a Latin poet, who flourished 
about this time, is mentioned by Bale, iii. 5. and Pitts, p. 233. He is commended in the 
PoLiCRATicON. A copy of his Latin he.xametrical satire on the monks is printed by Mathias 
Flacius, among miscellaneous Latin poems JJe comtpto Ecclcsice statu, p. 489. Basil. 
1557. oct. 

•* ' Magistro Henrico VersificatorL' Madox. Hist. Excheq. p. 268. ' Compare Tanner in 
Joannes Cornubiensis, who recites his other pieces. Bibl. p. 432. Notes, f. g. 

4 Ibid. p. 674. In MSS. Digb. Bibl. Bodl. I find, in John of Hovcden's Salutationes 
qiiiiiqttaginta Mari^. ' Mag. Henricus, vei:sificator macnus, de B. Virgine, &c.' 

5 MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Arch. Bodl. 29, in pergam, 4I0. viz. 'Versus magistri Michjelis Cornu- 
'b'ensis contra Mag. Henricum Abricenscm coram dom. Hugone abbate Westmon. et aliis.' 
fol. 81. b. Frittc. ' Akchipoeta vide quod non sit cura tibi de.' also fol. 83. b. Again, 
ful. 85. 

Pendo poeta prius te diximus Archipoetam, 
Quam pro postiro nunc dicimus esse poetam, Imo pocticulum, &c. 
Archipocta means here the king's chief poet. 

In another place our Cornish satirist thus a,ttacks master Henry's person. 
Est tibi gamba capri, crus passeris, et latus apri ; 
Os leporis, catuli nasus, dens et gena muli ; 
Frons vetula;, tauri caput, et color undique mauri. 
In a blank page of the Bodleian manuscript, from which these extracts are made, is written, 
'Iste liber constat flratri 'Johanni de Wallis monacho Ramescye.' The name is elegantly 
enriched with a device. This manuscript contains, among other things, Planctus de Excidio 
Troja;, by Hugo Prior de Montacuto, in rhyming hexameters and pentameters, viz. fol. 89. 
Camden cites oilier Latin verses of Michxl Blaunpain, whom he calls ' Merry Michxl the 
Cornish poet ' Rem. p. 10. Sec also p. 489. edit. 1674. He wrote many other Latin pieces. 
Loth in prose and verse. 

" Rot. P. an 36. Hcnr. iii. ' Et in uno dolio vini empto et date magistro Ricardo Citharista 
' regis, xl. fol. per Br. Keg. Et in uno dolio empto ct dato iieatrici uxori cju.sdem 


who from his profession was a genial chai'acter, appears problematical 
according to our present ideas. 

The first poet whose name occurs in the reign of Edward I, and 
indeed in these annals, is Robert of Glocester, a monk of the abbey of 
Glocester. He has left a poem of considerable length, which is a 
history of England inverse, from Brutus to the reign of Edward I. It 
was evidently written after the year 1278, as the poet mentions king 
Arthur's sumptuous tomb, erected in that year before the high altar of 
Glastonbury church^ ; and he declares himself a living witness of the 
remarkable dismal weather which distinguished the day on Vv'hich the 
battle of Evesham above mentioned was fought, in the year 1265^. 
From these and other circumstances this piece appears to have been 
composed about the year 1280. It is exhibited, in the MSS. is cited 
by many antiquaries, and printed by Hearne, in the Alexandrine 
measure : but with equal probability might have been written in four- 
lined stanzas. This rhyming chronicle is totally destitute of art or 
imagination. The author has cloathed the fables of Geoffrey of 
Monmouth in rhyme, which have often a more poetical air in Geoffrey's 
prose. The language is not much more easy or intelligible than that 
of many of the Norman-Saxon poems quoted in the preceding section : 
it is full of Saxonisms, which indeed abound, more or less, in every 
writer before Gower and Chaucer. But this obscurity is perhaps 
owing to the western dialect, in which our monk of Glocester was 
educated. Provincial barbarisms are naturally the growth of extreme 
counties, and of such as are situated at a distance from the metropolis : 
and it is probable, that the Saxc ~ heptarchy, which consisted of a 
cluster of seven independent states, contributed to produge as many 
different provincial dialects. In the mean time it is to be considei^ed^j 
that writers of all ages and languages have their affectations and ' 
singularities, which occasion in each a peculiar phraseology. 

Roben of Gloucester thus describes the sports and solemnities 
which followed king Arthur's coronation. 

The kyng was to ys paleys. tho the servyse was y do^, 

Ylad wyth his menye, and the queue to hire also. 

Vor hii hulde the olde usages, that men wyth men were 

By them sulve, and wymmen by hem sulue also there* 

Tho hii were echone ysett, as yt to her stat bycom, 

Kay, king of Aungeo, a thousand knytes nome 

Of noble men, yolotlied in ermyne echone 

Of on sywete, and servcde at thys noble fest anon. 

Bcdwer the botyler, kyng of Normandye, 

Nom also in ys half a vayr companye 

1 Pace- 224. edit. Hearne. Oxon. 1724. " Pag- sCo- 

3 'When the service in the church was finished.' 

4 ' They kept the antient custom at festivals, of placing the men and women separate. 
'Kay, liing of Anjou, brought a thousand noble knights cloathed in ermine of one suit, 
' or secia.' 


Of one sywyte^ Avorto servy of the botclerye. 

B\-\-ore the qucne 5^ was also of al suche cortesye, 

V'or to telle al the noblye thet thcr was ydo, 

They my tongue were of stel, me ssolde noght dure thereto. 

Wymmen ne kepte of no kyngt as in druery-, 

Bote h,e were in armys wel yproved, and atte leste thrye^. 

That made, lo, the wymmen the chastore lyf lede, 

And the kynghts the stahvordore*, and the betere in her dede. 

Sone after' thys noble mete^, as r}-ght was of such ryde, 

The kynghts atyled hem aboute in eche syde, 

In feldys and in medys to prove her bachelerye*'. 

Somme wvth lance, some wyth suerd, wythoute vylenye, 

Wyth plcyinge at tables, other atte chekere". 

Wyth castynge, other with sscttinge*, other in some ogyil mancrc. 

And wuch so of cny game adde the maystrj'e, 

The kyng hem of ys gyfteth d)-de large cortysye. 

Upe the alurs of the castles the laydes thanne stode. 

And byhulde thys noble game, and wyche kyngts were god. 

All the thre hexte dawes'' ylaste thys nobleye 

In halles and in veldes, of mete and eke of pleye. 

Thys men com the vcrthe'^° day byvore the kynge there, 

And he gef hem large gyftys, everc as hii werthe were. 

Bisshopryches and cherches clerkes he gef somme, 

And castles and townes kyngtes that were ycome^^. 

!Many of these lines arc literally translated from Geoffrey of Mon- 
mouth. In king Arthurs battle with the giant, at Barbesfleet, there 
are no marks of Gothic painting. But there is an effort at poetry in 
the desci'iption of the giant's fall. 

Tho grislych yal the ssrewe tho, that grislych was his bere. 
Pie vel doung as a gret ok, that byncthe ycorve were, 
That it thogte that al hul myd the vallynjc ssok^-. 

That is, ' The cruel giant yelled so hoiribly, and so vehement was his 

* fall, that he fell down like an oak cut through at the bottom, and all 

* the hill shook while he fell.' But this stroke is copied from Geoffry 
of Monmouth ; who tells the same miraculous story, and in all the 
pomp with which it was perhaps dressed up by his favourite fablers. 

^ ' Brought also, on his part, a fair company, doatlied uniformly.' 
2 Modesty, decorum. 3 I'hricc. '* More brave. 

5 Soon after this noble feast, which was proper at such an occasion, the knights accoutred 
' themselves.' •» Chivalry, courage, or youth. 

7 Chess. It is remarkable, that among the nine exercises, or accomplishments, mentioned by 
Kolson, an ancient northern chief, one is Playing at Chess. Bartholin, ii. c. 8. p. 4. 420. This 
game was familiarised to the Europeans after the crusades. The romances which followed 
those e.vpcditionsarefullof it. Kolson, above-mentioned, had made a pilgrimage into the Holy 
Land. But from the principles advanced in the first Intkodi;ctorv Dissertation, this 
game might have been known in the North before. In the mean time, it is probable that the 
.Saracens introduced it into Spain before the crusades. It is mentioned by C. of Monmouth, 
and in the Alcxiad of Anna Commena. See Mem. Acad. Lit. v. 232. 

8 Different ways of playing at chess. 'The ladies stood on the walks made within the 
battlements of the castle.' 

" ' All the three high, or chief days. In halls and fields, of fe.isting, and turneying, &c.' 
10 Fourth. 11 Pag. 191, 192. 1^ Pag. 208. 


' Exclamavit vero invisus illc ; ct velut quercus vcntorum viribus 
' eradicata, cum maximo fonitu corruit.' It is difficult to determine 
which is most blameable, the poetical historian, or the prosaic poet. 

It was a tradition invented by the old fablers, that giants brought the 
stones of Stonehenge from the most sequestered deserts of Africa, anrl 
placed them in Ireland ; that every stone was washed with the juices 
of herbs, and contained a medical power ; and that Merlin the 
magician, at the request of king Arthur, transported them from 
Ireland, and erected them in circles on the plain of Amesbury, as a 
sepulchral monument for the Britons treacherously slain by Hengist. 
This fable is thus delivered, without decoration, by Robert of 

' Sire kyng, quoth Merlin tho, suche thynges y wis 

' Ne bethe for to schewe nogt, but wen gret nede ys, 

* For gef iche seid in bismare, other bute it ned were, 

' Sone from me he wold v\'endc the gost, that doth me lcre\ 

The kyng, tho non other nas bod hym som quoyntise 

Bithinke about thilk cors that so noble were and wyse". 

' Sire kyng, cjuoth Merlin tho, gef thou wolt here caste 

' In the honour of men, a worke that ever schal ylaste,'' 

' To the hul of Kylar* send in to Yrlond, 

' Aftur the noble stones that ther habbet'^ lenge ystonde ; 

' That was the treche of giandcs'', for a quoynte work ther ys 

' Of stones al wyth art ymad, in the world such non ys. 

' Ne ther nys nothing that me scholde myd strengthe adoune cast. 

' Stode heo here, as heo cloth there ever a wolde last''. 

The kyng somdele to lyghe^, tho he herde this tale, 

' How mygte, he seyde, suche stones so grete and so faile'', 

' Be ybrogt of so fer lond 1 And get mist of were, 

' Me wolde wene, that in this londe no ston to wonke nere,' 

' Syre kyng, quoth Merlyn, ne make noght an ydel such lyghyng. 

' For yt nys an ydel noght that ich tell this tythyng^*^. 

' For in the farreste stude of Affric giands while fette^^ 

' Thike stones for medycyne and in Yrlond hem sette, 

' While heo wonenden in Yrlond to make here bathes there, 

' Ther undir forto bathi wen thei syk were. 

' For heo wuld the stones wasch and ther cnne bathe ywis. 

' For ys no ston ther among that of gret vertu nys^-. 

1 If I should say any thing out of wantonness or vanity, the spirit, or demon, which teaches 
me, would immediately leave me. ' Nam si ea in dei isionem, sive vanitatcm profenem, taceret 
' Spiritus qui me docet, et cum opus superveniret, recederet.' Galfrid. Mon. viii. lo. 

2 ' Bade him use his cunning, for the sake of the bodies of those noble and wise Britons.' 

3 ' If you would build, to their honour, a lasting monument. 

4 'To the hill of Kildare.' . » Have. 

C 'The dance of giants.' The name of this wonderful assembly of immense stones. 

7 'Grandes sunt lapides, ncc est aliquis cuius virtuti cedant. Quod si eo modo, quo ibi 
positi sunt, circa plateam locabuntur, stabunt in a;ternum.' Gafrid. Mon. viii. x. ii. 

8 ' Somewhat laughed.' " ' So great and so many.' 1" Tyding. 

11 ' Giants once brought them from the farthest part of Africa, &c.' 

12 ' Lavabant nanique lapides et infra balnea diffundebant, unde a;groti curabantur. Misce- 
' bant etiam cum herbarum confectionibus, unde vulnerati sanabantur. Non est ibi lapis qui 
' medicamenlo careat.' Galfrid. Mon. ibid. 


The kyng and ys conscil raddc [rode] the stones forto fcttc, 

And with gret power of batail gef any more hem lette 

Uter the kyngcs brother, that Ambrose hett also, 

In another name ychose was therto, 

And lifteene thousant men this dede for to do 

And Merlyn for his quointise thider went also^. 

If any thing engages our attention in this passage, it is the wildness 
of the fiction ; in which however the poet had no share. 
I will here add Arthur's intrigue with Ygerne. 

At the fest of Estre tho kyng scnde ys sonde 

That heo comen alle to London the hey men of this londe, 1 

And the levedys al so god, to ys noble fest wyde, 

For he schuldc crowne here, for the hye tyde. 

Alle the noble men of this lond to the noble fest come, 

And heore wyves and heore dogtren with hem mony nome, 

This fest was noble ynow, and nobliche y do ; 

For mony was the faire ledy, that y come was therto. 

Ygerne, Gorloys wyf, was fairest of echon, 

That was contasse of Cornewail, for so fair nas ther non. 

The kyng by huld hire faste y now, and ys herte on hire caste, 

And thogte, thay heo were wyf, to do folye atte laste. 

He made hire semblant fair y now, to non other so grct. 

The erl nas not ther with y payed, tho he yt under get. 

Aftur mete he nom ys wyfe myd stordy med y now, 

And, with oute Icve of the kyng, to ys contrei drow. 

The kyng sonde to hym tho, to by leve al nygt, 

For he moste of gret consel habbe som insygt. 

That was for nogt. Wolde he nogt the kyng sonde get ys sonde. 

That he by levede at ys parlemente, for node of the londe. 

The kyng was, tho he nolde nogt, anguyssous and wroth. 

For dcspyte he wolde a wreke be he swor ys oth, 

Bute he come to amcndement. Ys power atte laste 

He garkede, and wende forth to Cornewail faste. 

Gorloys ys castelcs a store al a boute. 

In a strong castel he dude ys wyf, for of hire was al ys doute. 

1 Pag. 145. 146. 147. That Stonehenge is a British monument, erected in memory of Hen- 
gist's massacre, rests, I believe, on the sole evidence of Geoflry of Monmouth, who had it from 
the British bards. But why should not the testimony of the British bards be allowed on tliis 
occasion? For they did not invent facts, so much as fables. In the present case, Hengisi's 
massscrc is an allowed event. Remove all the apparent fiction, and tho bards only say, that 
an immense pile of stones was raised on the plain of Ambrcsburj' in memory of that event. 
'I'hcy lived too near the time to forge this origin of Stonehenge. The whole story was recent, 
and from the immensity of the work itself, must have been still more notorious. ThcrefVirc 
their forgery would have been too glaring. It may be objected, that they were fond of rcfcr- 
ing every thing stupendous to their favorite hero Arthur. This I grant: but not when known 
authenticated fads stood in their way, and while the real cause was remembered. Even 10 
this day, the massacre of Hengist, as I have partly hinted, is an undisputed piece of history. 
Why should not the other part of the history be equally true? Besides the silence of Nennius, 
I am aware, that this hypothesis is still attended with many difficulties and improbabili- 
ties. And so are all the systems and conjectures cvtr yet framed about this amazing monu- 
ment. It appears to me, to be the v/ork of a rude people who had .some ideas of art : such as 
wc may suppose the Romans left behind them among the Britons. In the mean time I do not 
remember, that in the veiy controverted etymology of the word Stcttchcngc the name of 
liENGisT has been properly or sufficiently considered. 


In another hym self he was, for he nolde nogt, 

Gef cas come, that heo were bothe to dethc y brogt. 

The cartel, that the erl inne was, the kyng by segede faste, 

For he niygte ys gynnes for schame to the oter caste. 

Tho he was ther sene nygt, and he spedde nogt, 

Igerne the contesse so muche was in ys thogt, 

That he nuste nen other wyt, ne he ne mygte for schame 

Telle yt bute a prj-ve knygt, Ulfyn was ys name, 

That he truste mest to. And tho the knygt herde this, 

' Syre, he seide, y ne can wyte, war red here of ys, 

' For the castel ys so strong, that the lady ys inne, 

' For ich wene al the lond ne schulde yt myd strengthc \\ynne. 

' For the se geth al aboute, but entre on ther nys, 

* And that ys up on harde rockes, and so narw wci it ys, 

* That ther may go bote on and on, that thre. men with inne 
' Mygte sle al the londe, er heo com ther inne. 

* And nogt for than, gef Merlj'n at thi conseil were, 
' Gef any mygte, he couthe the best red the lere.' 
Merlyn was sone of s^d, pleid yt was hym sone. 
That he schulde the beste red segge, wat were to done. 
Merlyn was sory ynow for the kynge's folye. 

And nathcles, ' Sire kyng, he seide, there mot to maistrie, 
' The erl hath twey men hym nert, Brygthoel and Jordan. 
' Ich wol make thi self gef thou wolt, thoru art that y can, 

* Habbe al tho fourme of the erl, as thou were rygt he, 

* And Olfyn as Jordan, and as Brithoel me.' 

This art was al clene y do, that al changet he were. 

Heo thre in the otheres forme, the selve at yt were. 

Ageyn even he wende forth, nuste nomon that cas, 

To the castel heo come rygt as yt evene was. 

The porter y se ys lord come, and ys moste privey twei, 

With god herte he lette ys lord yn, and ys men beye. 

The contas was glad y now, tho hire lord to hire com 

And eyther other in here armes myd gret joye nom. 

Tho heo to bedde com, that so longe a two were, 

With hem was so gret delyt, that bitwene hem there 

Bi gete was the beste body, that ever was in this londe, 

Kyng Arthure the noble mon, that ever worthe understonde. 

Tho the kynge's men nuste amorwe, wer he was bi come, 

Heo ferde as wodemen, and wende he were ynomc. 

Heo a saileden the castel, as yt schulde adoun anon, 

Heo that with inne were, garkcde hem echon. 

And smyte out in a fole wille, and fogte myd here fon ; 

So that the erl was y slave, and of ys men mony on, 

And the castel was y nome, and the folk to sprad there, 

Get, tho thei hadde al ydo, he'o ne fonde not the kyng there. 

The tything to the contas sone was y come. 

That hire lord was y slawe, and the castel y nome. 

Ac tho the mcssinger hjon sey the erl, as hym thogte, 

That he hadde so foule plow, ful sore hym of thogte. 

The contasse made som del deol, for no sothnesse heo nuste. 


The kyng, for to glade here, bi ckipte hire and cust. 

' Dame, he seide, no fixt thou wel, that les yt ys al this : 

' Ne wost thou wel ich am olyuc. Ich wole the segge how it >s. 

' Out of the castel stilleliche ych wcndc al in privete, 

' That none of myne men yt nustc, for to spcke with the. 

'And tho heo miste mc to day, and nuste wer ich wa-s, 

' Heo ferden rigt as gydic men, myd warn no red nas, 

' And fogte with the folk with oute, and habbeth in this manere 

' Y lore the castel and hem scluc, ac well thou wost y am here. 

' Ac for my castel, that is ylore, sory ich am y now, 

' And for myn men, that the kyng and ys power slog. 

' Ac my power is now to lute, ther for y drede sore, 

' Leste the k\Tig us nyme here, and sorwe that we were more. 

* Ther fore ich wole, how so yt be, wende agen the kynge, 

* And make my pays with hym, ar he us to schame brynge.' 
Forth he wende, and het ys men that gef the kyng come, 

That hei schulde hym the castel gelde, ar he with strengthe it nome. 

So he come towards ys men, ys own forme he nom, 

And levede the erle's fourme, and the k)ng Uter by com. 

Sore hym of thogte the erle's deth, ac in other half he fondc 

Joye in hys herte, for the contasse of spoushed was unbounde, 

Tho he hadde that he wolde, and paysed with ys son, 

To the contasse he wende agen, me let hym in a non. 

Wat halt it to talle longc : bute heo were seth at on. 

In gret loue long y now, wan yt nolde other gon ; 

And hadde to gcdcre this noble sone, that in the world ys pere nas, 

The kyng Arture, and a dogter, Anne hire name was^. 

In the latter end of the reign of Edward the first, many officers of 
the French king having extorted large sums of money from the citizens 
of Bruges in Flanders, were murthered : and an engagement succeed- 
ing, the French army, commanded by the count du Saint Pol, was de- 
feated ; upon which the king of France, who was Philip the Fair, sent 
a strong body of troops, under the conduct of the count de Artois, 
against the Flemings : he was killed, and the French were almost all 
cut to pieces. On this occasion the following ballad was made in the 
year 1301-. 

Lusteneth, lordingcs, bothe zonge and olde, 
Of the Freynshe men that were so proude ante bolde 
How the Flemmyshe men bohten hem ante solde, 

Upon a Wednesday, 
Betere hem were at home in huerc londc. 
Than force seche Flemishe bi the sea strondc 
Whare rouch moni Frensh wyf wryngclh hire hondc, 

And syngeth wclaway. 
The kynge of Ffrance made statutes newe, 
In the londe of Flaundrcs among false ant trewe, 
That the communs of BiTJges ful sore can arcwe, 

And seiden among hem, 

1 Chron. p. 156. 2 The last battle was foij-ht that year, Jul. 7. 


Gedere we us to gedere hardilyche at ene, 
Take we the bailifs bi twenty and bi tene, 
Clappe we of the hevcdes an oven o the grcne, 

Ant cast we in the fen. 

The webbes ant the fuUaris assembled hem alle, 
And makeden huere counsail in huere commune halle, 
Token Peter conyng huere kynge to call 

Ant be huere cheveteyne, iSrc"^. 

These verses shew the familiarity with which the affairs of France 
were known in England, and display the disposition of the Enghsii to- 
wards the French, at this period. It appears from this and previous 
instances, that political ballads, I mean such as were the vehicles of 
political satire, prevailed much among our early ancestors. About the 
present era, we meet with a ballad complaining of the exhorbitant fees 
extorted, and the numerous taxes levied, by the king's officers-. There 
is a libel remaining, written indeed in French Alexandrines, on the 
commission of trayl-baston^, or the justices so denominated by Ed- 
ward I., during his a.bsence in the French and Scotch wars, about the 
year 1306. The author names some of the justices or commissioners, 
now not easily discoverable : and says, that he served the king both in 
peace and war in Flanders, Gascony, and Scotland*. There is like- 
wise a ballad against the Scots, traitors to Edward I., and taken 
prisoners at the battles of Dunbar and Kykenclef, in 1305, and 1306''. 
The licentiousness of their rude manners was perpetually breaking out 
in these popular pasquins, although this species of petulance usually 
belongs to more polished times. 

Nor were they less dexterous than daring in publishing their satires 
to advantage, although they did not enjoy the many conveniences which 
modern improvements have afforded for the circulation of public abuse. 
In the reign of Henry VI., to pursue the topic a little lower, we find a 
ballad of this species stuck on the gates of the royal palace, severely 
reflecting on the king and his counsellors then sitting in parliament. 
This piece is preserved in the Ashmolean museum, with the following 
Latin title prefixed. ' Copia sccdulce valvis domini regis existeniis in 
'' parliame7ifo suo tento apiid Wcstmoiiasteriicm inetise inarcii anno 
regni Henrici sextivicesiino octavo^ But the ancient ballad was often 
applied to better purposes : and it appears from a valuable collection 
of these little pieces, lately published by my ingenious friend and 
fellow-labourer doctor Percy, in how much more ingenuous a strain 
they have transmitted to posterity the praises of knightly heroism, the 
marvels of romantic fiction, and the complaints of love. 

At the close of the reign of Edward I., c^nd in the year 1303, a poet 

1 MSS. Harl, 2233. f. 73. b. 2 ibid. f. C4. There is a long half LaUii and half r.cnch, 

mv'.ch on the same subject. Ibid. f. 137. b. 
'•^ Spelraan and Dufresne in Voc. And Rob. Brunne's Chron. ed Hcarne, p. 32S. 
4 MSS. Harl. ibid. f. 113. b. 5 Ibid. f. 59. 


occurs named Robert Mannyng, but more commonly called Robc.t de 
Brunne. He was a Gilbertine canon in the monastery of Brunne, or 
Bourne, near Depyng in Lincolnshire : but he had been before pro- 
fessed in the prior)' of Sixhille, a house of the same order, and in the 
same county. He was merely a translator. He translated into Eng- 
lish metre, or rather paraphrased, a French book, written by Grosthead 
bishop of Lincoln, entitled Manuel Peche, or Manuel de Peche, 
that is, the ]\La.nual OF Sins. This translation was never printed^ 
It is a long work, and treats of the decalogue, and the seven deadly 
sins, vvhich are illustrated with many legendar)^ stories. This is the 
title of the translator. 'Here bygynneth the boke that men clepyn in 
Frcnshe Robert Gi'oosteste byshop of Lyncoln.' From the Prologue, 
among other circumstances, it appears that Robert de Brunne designed 
this performance to be sung to the harp at public entertainments, and 
that it was written or begun in the year 1303'. 

For lewed' men I undyrtoke, InEnglyshetongeto make thisbokc 

I-'or many beyn of suche mancre 
That talys and rymys wyle blethly * here. 
In gamys and festys at the ale'' Love men to lestcne trotonale" : 
To all ciystyn men undir sunne, And to gode men of Brunne ; 
And specialli al bi name The felaushipe of Symprynghame'', 

Roberd of Brunne greteth yow. In alle godenesse that may to provv^. 
Of Biymwake yn Kestevene^ 
Syxe myle besyde Sympryngham evene, 
Y dwelled in the priorye Fyftene yere in cumpanye, 

In the tyme of gode Dane Jone Of Camelton that now is gone; 
In hys tyme was I ther ten yeres 
And knewe and herde of hys maneres ; 
Sythyn with Dan Jon of Clyntone Fyve wyntyr wyth hym gan I wonc, 
Dan Fclyp was maystyr in that tyme 
That I began thys Englyssh ryme 
The ycies of grace fyd^" than to be 
A thousand and thre hundred and thre. 
In that t>Tne turned y thys In Englysh tonge out of Frankys. 

From the work itself I am chiefly induced to give the following 
specimen ; as it contains an anecdote relating to bishop Grosthead his 
author, who will again be mentioned, and on that account. 

1 MSS. Bibl. Eodi. N. 415. membr fol. Cont. 80. pas. Pr. ' Fadyr and sonc and holy goste." 
. 1.1 MSS. HarL 1701. 

Fol. I. a. !* Laymen, illiterate. 4 Gladly. 

■' So in the Vision of P. Plowman, fol. xxvi. b. edit. 1550. 

I am occupied every day, holy day and other, V/ith idle tales at tiu: Ale &c. 
Again, fol. i. b. 

— Foiightcn at the Ale In glotony, gcdwote, &c. 

Chaucer mentions ax\ A Uptake, Prol. v. 669. Perhaps, a May -pole. And in the Plowir.aii's 
'i'ale, p. 185. Urr. edit. v. 2110. 

And the chief ch.intours at the nale. 
" Truth and all. 7 The name of his order. S Profit. 9 A part of Lmcolnshirc. Chro I!r. p. 311. 
At Lincoln the parlcment was in Lyndesay and Kcstcvenc. 
l.yudcsay is Lincolnshire, ibid. p. 248. btory of three monks of Lyndcsay, ibid. 10 Fell, 


Y shall you tell as I hav^e herd Of the bysshop seynt Roberd, 

Hys toname is^ Grosteste Of Lyncolne, so seyth the geste. 

He lovede mocheto herethe harpe, For mans witte yt nmkyth sharpe. 
Next hys chamber, besyde hys study, 
Hys harper's chamber was fast the by. 
Many tymes, by nightes and dayes, He hadd solace of notes and layes, 
One askede hem the resun why He hadde delyte in mynstrelsy .'' 
He answerdc hym on thys manere Why he helde the harpe so dere. 
' The virtu of the harp, thurgli skyle and r}-ght, 
' Wyll destrye the fendys- myght ; 
' And to the cros by gode skeyl * Ys the harpe lykened weyl. — 
' Thirefore, gode men, ye shall lere, ' When ye any gleman ^ here, 
' To worshepe God at your power, ' And Davyd in the sauter.* 
' Yn harpe and tabour and symphan gle^ 
' Worship God in trumpes ant sautre : 
* Yn cordes, yn organes, and bells ringying, 
' Yn all these worship the hevene kyng, &c.®' 

But Robert de Brunne's largest work is a metrical chronicle of 
England''. The former part, from ^Eneas to the death of Cadwallader, 
is translated from an old French poet called Maister Wace or Gasse, 
who manifestly copied Geoffry of Monmouth^, in a poem commonly 
entitled Roman de Rois d'Angleterre. It is esteemed one of the 
oldest of the French romances, and was begun to be written by Eustace, 
sometimes called Eustache, Wistace, or Huistace, who finished his 
part under the title of Brut d'Angleterre, in the year 1155. Hence 
Robert de Brunne, somewhat inaccurately, calls it simply the Brut^. 

1 Surname. See Rob. Br. Chron. p. i68. 'Theicald hi this toname, &c.' Fr. 'Est sur- 
nomez, &c.' 

2 Fiend's The DnnVs. 3 Harper. Minstrel. 4 Psalter. 

5 Chaucer R. Sir Thop. v. 33^. Urr. edit. p. 135. 

Here wonnith the queene of Fairie, With harpe, and pipe, and Si)itplwnie. 

6 Fol. 30. b. There is an old Latin song in Burton's Melancholy, which I find in this MSS. 
poem. Burton's Mel. Part iii. § 2. Memb. iii. pag. 423. 

7 The second part was printed by Heame at O.xford, which he calls Peter Lan'CTOFt's 
Chronicle, 1725. Of the First part Hearne has given us the ProIo.2:ue, Pref. p. 96. An Ex- 
tract, ibid. p. iS3. Ajid a few other passages in his Glossarj' to Robert of Gloucester. But 
the First Part was never printed entire. Hearne says this Chronicle was not finished till the 
year 1338. Rob. Gloucest. Pref p. 59. It appears that our author was educated and gra- 
duated at Cambridge, from Chron. p. 337. 

8 In the British Bluseum there is a fragment of a poem in very old French verse, a romantic 
history of England, drawn from Geoffrey of Monmouth, perhaps before the year 1200. MSS. 
Harl. 1605 I. f. I. Cod. membran. 410. In the MSS. library of doctor N. Johnston of Ponte- 
fract, now perhaps dispersed, there was a MSS. on vellum, containing a history in old English 
verse from Brute to the iSth year of Edward II. And in that of Basil lord Denbigh, a 
metrical history in English from the same period, to Henry III. Wanly supposed it to have 
been of the hand-writing of the time of Edward IV. 

9 The Brut of Exgl.i.nd, a prose Chronicle of England, sometimes continued as low as 
Henry VI., is a common manuscript. It was at first translated from a French Chronicle 
[MSS. Harl. 200. 4to.] written in the beginning of the reign of Edward III. I think it is 
printed by Ca.xton under the title of Fnictus Tcviporiim. The French have a famous antient 
prose romance called Bkut, which includes the history of the Sangreal. I know not whether 
it is exactly the same. In an old metrical romance. The story of Rollo, there is this passage 
MSS. Vernon, Bibl. Bodl. f. 123. 

Lordus gif ye wil Icsten to me Of Croteye the nobile citee 

As wryttcn i fynde in his story Of Bruit the chronicle, &c. 

In the British Museum we have, Le pi-iit Bruit, compiled by Meistrc Raufe de Bonn, and 
ending with the death of Edward I. MSS Harl. 902. f. r. Cod. chart, fol. It is an abridge- 


This romance was soon afterwards continued to William Rufus, by 
Robert Wace or Vace, Gasse or Gace, a native of Jersey, educated at 
Caen, canon of Bayeux, and chaplain to Heniy II, under the title of 
Le Roman le Rou et les des Dues de Normandie, yet sometimes 
preserving its original one, in the year ii6o^ Thus both parts were 
blended, and became one work. Among the royal manuscripts in the 
British Museum it is thus entitled : 'Le Brut, ke maistre Wace 
' traiislata de Latin en Francels de iutt les Rcis de Brittaigne^^ That 
is, from the Latin prose history of Geoffry of Monmouth. And that 
master Wace aimed only at the merit of a translator, appears from his 
exordial verses. 

Maistre Gasse 1' a translate Oue en conte le verite. 

Otherwise we might have suspected that the authors drew their 
materials from the old fabulous Armoric manuscript, which is said to 
have been Geoffry's original. 

Although this romance, in its ancient and early manuscripts, has 
constantly passed under tlie name of its finisher, Wace ; yet the 
accurate Fauchett cites it by the name of its first author Eustace^. 
And at the same time it is extraordinarj^, that Robert de Brunne, in 
his Prologue, should not once mention the name of Eustace, as having 
any concern in it : so soon was the name of the beginner superseded 
by that of the continuator. An ingenious French antiquaiy very 
justly supposes, that Wace took many of his descriptions from that 
invaluable and singular monument the Tapestry of the Norjuan con- 
quest, preserved in the treasury of the cathedral of Bayeux*, and lately 
engraved and explained in the learned doctor Du Carell's Anglo- 
Nonnan Antiquities. Lord Lyttelton has quoted' this romance, and 

ment of the grand Brl'T. In the same library I find Liber de Bruto et de Resits Aiic;loru7n 
vutrificatits. That is, turned into rudo Latin hexameters. It is continued to the death of 
Richard II. Many prose annotations are intermixed. MSS. ibid. iSoS. 24. f 31. Cod. 
membran. 410. In another copy of this piece, one Peckward is said to be the versifier. MSS. 
ib. 2386. 23. f. 35, In another MSS. the grand Brut is said to be translated from the French 
by 'John Maundeule parson of Brjnham Thorpe.' MSS. ibid. 2279. 3. 

1 Lenglet, Biblioth. des Romans, ii. p. 226. 227. Lacombe, Diction, de vieux Lang. Fr. 
pref. p. xviii. Paris. 1767. 8vo. Compare Montfauc. Catal. Manuscr. ii. p. 1669. Also M. 
Galland, Mem Lit. iii. p. 42.6 8vo. 

2 3 A. xxi. 3. It occurs a^ain, 4 C. xi. 'Histoire d'Anglcterre en vers, par Maister 
' Wace.' I cannot help correcting a mistake into which both Wanley and bishop Nicholson 
have fallen, with regard to this Wace. In the Cotton librarj', a Saxo-norman MSS. occurs 
twice, which seems to be a translation of Geoffry's liistorj', or very like it. Calig. A. i.x. 
And Otho C. 13. 4to. In vellum. The translator is one Lazamon, a priest, bom at Ernly on 
Severn. He saj'.s, that he had his original from the book of a French clergyman, named 
Wate; which book Wate the author had presented to Eleanor queen of Henry II. So Laza- 
mon in the preface. 'But he nom the thridde, 2700, leide ther amiddcn : tha makcde a 
'frcnchis clerc; Wate [Ware] wes ihoton, &c.' Now because Geoffry of Monmouih in one 
of his prefaces, cap. i. b. i. says, that he received his original from the hands of Water Mapcs 
archdeacon of Oxford ; both Wanly and Nicholson suppose that the Wate mentioned by, 
Lazamon, is Walter Mapcs. Whereas Lazamon undouljtcdiy means, perhaps written 
or called Wate, author of Le le Rou above-mentioned. Nor is the Saxon t \x\ per. 
fcctly distinguishable from c. Wanley's Catal. Hickcs's Thesaur. ii. p. 228. Nicholson Hist. 
Libr. i. 3. And compare Leland's Coll. vol. i. P. ii. p. 509. edit. 1770. 

3 Rec. p. 82. edit, 1581. 

■* Mons. Lancelot, Mem. Lit. viii. 602. 410. And sec Hist. Acad. Iri:.cript. xiii. 41. 4to. 


shewn that important facts and curious illustrations of history may be 
drawn from such obsolete but authentic resources.^ 

The measure used by Robert de Brunne, in his translation of the 
former part of our French chronicle or romance, is exactly like that of 
his original. Thus the Prologue. 

Lordynges that be now here, If ye wille listene and lere, 

All the story of Inglande, Als Robert Mannyng wrytenit fand, 

And on Inglysch has it schewed, Not for the lered but for the lewed; 
For tho that on this lond wonn That the Latin ne Frankys conn, 
For to half solace and gamen In felauschip when tha istt samen 

And it is wisdom forto wytten 
The state of the land, and hef it wrj-ten, 
What manere of folk first it wan. And of what kynde it first began. 
And gude it is for many thynges, For to here the dedis of kynges, 
Whilk were foles, and whilk were wyse. 
And whilk of tham couth most quantyse ; 
And whylk did wrong, and whilk ryght. 
And whilk mayntened pes and fyght. 
Of thare dedes sail be mi sawe, In what tyme, and of what law, 
I sholl yow from gre to grc, Sen the tyme of Sir Noe : 

From Noe unto Eneas, And what betwixt tham was. 

And fro Eneas till Brutus tyme. That kynde he tells in this ryme. 
For Brutus to Cadwcladres, The last Briton that this lande lees, 

Alle that kynd and alle the frute 
That come of Brutus that is the Brute ; 
And the lyght Brute is told no more 
Than the Brytons tyme wore. 
After the Bretons the Inglis camen, 
The lordschip of this land thai namen ; 
South, and north, west, and east. That call men now the Inglis gest. 
When thai first among the Bretons, 
That now ere Inglis than were Saxons, 
Saxons Inglis hight all oliche. Thai aryved up at Sandwyche, 

In the kynges synce Vortogerne 
That the lande wolde tham not wcrne, &.c. 
One mayster Wage the Frankcs telles 
The Brute all that the Latin spelles, 
Fro Eneas to Cadwaladre, &c. 
And ryght as mayster Wace says, 
I telle myne Inglis the same ways, &c-. 

The second part of Robert de Brunne's Chronigle, beginning from 
Cadwallader, and ending with Edward I., is translated, in great 
measure, from the second part of a French metrical chronicle, written 
in five books, by Peter Langtoft, an Augustine canon of the monastery 
of Bridlington in Yorkshire, who wrote not many years before his 
translator. This is mentioned in the prologue preceding the second 

1 Hist Hear. IL vol iii. p. iGa * Hearne's edit. Pref. p. gS. 


Frankis spech is cald romance,^ So sais cicrkes and men of France. 
I'ers of Langtoft, a chanon SchaveninthehouseofBridlyngton. 

On Frankis style this storie he wrote Of Inglis kingcs, &c.2 

As Langtoft had written his French poem in Alexandrines^, the 
translator, Robert de Brunne, has followed him, the Prologue excepted, 
in using the double distich for one line, aftc." the manner of Robert of 
Gloucester. As in the first part he copied the metre of his author 
\Vace. But I will exhibit a specimen from both parts. In the first, he 
gives us this dialogue between Merlin's mother and king Vortigcrn, 
from Master Wace. 

Dame, said the kyng, welcom be thow : 
Nedeli at the I mette witte how * 
Who than gate " thi sone Merlyn And on what manor was he thin ? 
His moder stode a throwe" and thought 
Are scho"^ to the kyng ansuerd ouht : 
When scho had standen a litelle wight^, 
Scho said, by Jhesu in Mari light. 
That I ne saugh hym never ne knewe 
That this knave " on me sewe^*'. 
Ne I wist, ne I herd, What maner schap with mc so ferd^^ 

But this thing am I woleograunt^-, That I was of clde avenaunt^^ : 
One com to my bed I wist, Vv'ith force he me halsed^^and kist : 

Als'-^ a man I him felte, Als a man he me welte ^"j 

Als a man he spake to me.- Bot what he was, myght I not se^'. 

The following, extracted from the same part, is the speech of the 
Romans to the Britons, after the former had built a wall against the 
Picts, and were leaving Britain. 

We haf closed ther most nede was; And yf ye defend wele that pas 
With archers^* and with magnels^^, And kepe wele the kyrnels ; 

1 The Latin tongue cea=icd to be spoken in France about the ninth century ; and was suc- 
ceeded by what was called the Romance tongue. A mixture of Frankish and bad Latin. 
Hence the first poems in that language are called Romans or Romants. Essay on Pope, 
p. 2S1. In the following passages of this Chronicle, where Robert de Brunne mentions Ro- 
mance, he sometimes means Langtoft's French book, from which he translated, viz. 
Chron. p. Z05. 

This that I have said it is Pers sawe 
Als he in Jiotnaiice laid thereafter gan I drawe. 
Chauc. Rom. R. v. 2170. Balades, p. 554. v. 508. Urr. Crcsccmbin. Istor. della Volg Pocs. 
vol. i. L. V. p. 316. seq. 2 Hearne's edit. Pref. p. 106. 

^ Some are printed bjr Hollingsh. Hist. iii. 469. Others by Hcame, Chron. Langt. Pref. 
p. 58. And in the margin of the pages of the Chronicle. 

4 'I must by all means know of yoti.' 5 gggott. "Awhile. 7 E'er she 

8 irhitc, while. » Child. 10 Begott. n Lay. 12 A.ssured. 

13 ' I was then young and beautiful.' !■* Embraced. ISAs. ^^ IVieMeJ, moved. 

17 Aj)ud Hearne's 01. Rob. Glouc. p. 711. 

18 N ot Bowmen, but apertures in the wall for shooting arrows. Viz. In the repoirs of Taunton 
ri^tle, I2C6. Comp. J. Gerneys, Episc. Wint. 'Tantonia. Expense domorum. In merccde 
■ Ccmcntarii pro muro erigendo ju.vta turrim ex parte oricntali cum Kernellis ct Archeriis fa- 
cii;ndis, xvi. s. vi. d.' In Archiv. Wolvef apud Wint. Kciielh mentioned here, and in the 
iic-xt verse, were much the same thing : or perhaps battlements. In rejiairs of the great hall 
at Wolvescy-palace, I find, ' In kyniillis emptis ad idem, xii. d.' Ibid. There is a patent 
i;ranted to the monks of Abingdon, in Berkshire, in the reign of Edward III., 'Pro kernijla- 
' tlone mona-stcrii." Pat. an. 4. par. 1. 

17 Cotgrcve has interpreted this word rt« £>J^/<«/;it';/f:/ i////^. V. Mangoneav. Viz. p,oj_ 



Ther may ye bothe schote and cast Waxes bold and fend you fast. ' 
Thinkes your faders wan franchise, Be ye no more in other servise : 
But frely lyf to your lyves end : We fro you for ever wended 

Vortigern king of the Britons, if thus described meeting the beautiful 
princess Rouwen, daughter of Hengist, the Rosamond of the Saxon 
ages, at a feast of wassaile. It is a curious picture of the gaii^ntry of 
the times. 

Hengest that day did his might, 

That alle were glad, king and knight, 

And as thei were best in glading, 

And^ wele cop schotin knight and king, 

Of chambir Rouewen so gent, 

Be fore the king in halle scho went. 

A coupe with wyne sche had in hand. 

And hir^ hatire was wele* farand. 

Be fore the king on kne sett, 

And on hir langage scho himgrett, 

' Lauerid'' king, Wassaille,' seid sche. 
The king asked, what suld be. 

Pip. An. 4. Hen. iii. [.■^.D. 1219.] ' Nordhant. Et in e.xpensis regis in obsidione castri de 
' Rockingham, 100/. per Br. Reg. Et custodibus ingeniorura [engines] regis ad ea carianda 
'usque Bisham, ad castrum illud obsidendum, 13s. lod. per id. Br. Reg. Et pro duobus 
'coriis, emptis apud Northampton ad fundas petrariarum et mangonellorum regis faciciendas, 
'5s. 6d. per id. Br. Reg.' — Rot. Pip. i.\. Hen. iii. [a.d. 1225.] 'Sl'RR. Coinp. de Ctiarcbujc. 
'Etprovii. cablis emptis ad petrarias et mangonellos in eodem castro, -js. iid.' Rot. Pip. 5 
Hen. iii. [A.D. 1220.] 'Devons. Et in custo posito in i. petraria et 11. mangonelUs cariatis 
'a Nottingham usque Bisham, et in eisdem rcductis a Bisham usque Nottingham, 7/. 4^-.' 
'Mangonel also signified what was thrown from the machine so called. Thus Froissart.' 
Et avoient les 'Brabancons de tres grans engins devant ia ville, qa\ gettoient pierres de fai.x 
'et jnangoneaii.x \v&<:^ts en la ville.' Liv. iii. c. iiS. And in the old French OviDE cited by 
Borel, Tresor. in V. 

Onques pour une tor abatre, Ne oit on Ma?igoniaiix descendre 

Plus briement ne du ciel destendre Foudre pour abatre un clocher. 

Chaucer mentions both Mangonels and KyrniU, in a castle in the Romaunt of the Rose, v. 
4195. 6279. Also ai-cliers, i.e. arclieria:, v. 4191. So in the French Roman de la Rose, 
V. 3945- 

Vous puissiez bien les Mangonneazilx, Veoir la par-dessus les Creneaiilx. 

Et aux archieres de la Tour Sont arbalestres tout entour. 

Archieres occ\xr often in this poem. Chaucer, in translating the above passage, has intro- 
duced guns, which were not known when the original written, v. 4191. 'The use of 
artillery, however, is proved by a curious passage in Petrarch, to be older than the period to 
which it has been commonly referred. The passage is in Petrarch's book de Remediis t;TRiusQi'E 
FORTUN.E, undoubtedly written before the year 1334. 'G. Habeo machinas et balistas. R. ^li- 
'rum, nisi et glafides seneas, quse flammis injectis horrisono sonitu jaciuntur. — Erat haec pestis 
' niiper rara, ut cum ingenti miraculo cerneretur : nii?ic, ut rerum pessimarum dociles sunt animi, 
'ita cominicnis est, ut qicodlibet genus armorum.' Lib. i. Dial. 99. Muratori, Anjiquitat. 
Med. yEv. torn. ii. col. 514. Cannons are supposed to have been first used by the at the 
battle of Cressy, in the year 1346. It is extraordinarj' that, Froissart, who minutely describes that 
battle, and is fond of decorating his narrative with wonders, should have wholly omitted this 
circumstance. Musqiiets are recited as a weapon of the infantry so early as the year 1475. 
'Quilibet peditum habeat balistam vel boinbardant.' Lit. Casimiri iii. an. 1475. Leg. 
PoLON. torn. i. p. 22S. These are generally assigned to the year 1520. 

I am of opinion, that some of the grca» military battering engines, so frequently mentioned 
in the histories and other writers of the dark ages, were fetched from the crusades. See a 
species of the catapult, used by the Syrian army in the siege of Mecca, about the year 680. 
Mod. Univ. Hist. B. i, c. 2. tom. ii. p. 117. These expeditions into the cast undoubtedly 
much improved the European art of war. Tasso's warlike machines, which seem to be the 
poet's invention, are formed on descriptions of such wonderful machines which he had read in 
the crusade historians, particularly Wilhelmus Tyrensis. 

1 Gloss. Rob. Glouc. p. 6'i4. - Sending about the cups apace. Carousing briskly. 

3 Attire, 4 Very rich. 5 Lord. 


On that langage the king^ ne couthe. 
A knight- ther langage^ Icrid in youthe. 
Ercg* hiht that knight born Bretoun, 
That lerid the langage oP Sessoun. 
This Breg was the" latimer. 
What scho said told Vortager. 

* Sir, Breg seid, Rowen yow gretis, 

' And king callis and lord yow'' letis. 
' This es ther custom and ther gest, 

* Whan thei are atte the ale or fest. 

* Ilk man that louis quare him think. 

' Salle say Wosseillc, and to him drink, 
' He that bidis salle say, Wassaille. 

* The tother salle say again, Drinkhaillc. 

* That sais Wosseille drinkis of the cop, 

* Kissand^ his felavv he gives it up. 

' Drinkheille, he sais, and drinke ther of, 

* Kissand him in bourd and^ skof.' 
The king said, as the knight gan^" ken, 
Drinkheille, smiland on Rouewen. 
Rouewen drank as hire list. 

And gave the king," sine him kist. 
There was the first wassaille in dede, 
And that first of fame^- gede. 
Of that wassaille men told grete tale. 
And wassaille whan thei were at ale 
And drinkheille to tham that drank. 
Thus was wassaille^-* tane to thank. 

Fele^- sithes that maidin^^ Y^^Sy 
Wassailed and kist the king. 
<■ Of bodi sche was right^*' avenant, 

i\Vas not skilled. - The ^ Learned. * Was called. 5 Saxons 

6 For Latitter, or Latinicr, an Interpreter. Thus, in the romance of KING Richard, 
hereafter cited at large, Saladin's Latimer at the siege of Babylon proclaims a truce to the 
christian army from the walls of the city. Signat. M. i. 

The Lateiieke tho tourned his eye To that other syde of the toune. 

And crj'ing trues with gret sounc. 
In which sense the French word occurs in the Roman de G.A.RIN. MSS. Bibl. Reg. Paris. 
Num 7542. 

Latimer fu si sot parler Roman, Englois, Gallois, ct Breton, et Norman. 

And again, 

Un Latimer viei! feraht et hcnu Molt sot de plet, et molt cntresnio su 

And in the MSS. Roman de Rou, which will again be mentioned. 

L'archevesquc Franches a Jumegcs ala, A Rou, et a sa gent par Latinier parla. 

We find it in Froissart, torn. iv. c. 87. And in other ancient French writers. In the old 

Norman poem on the subject of the king Dcrmod's expulsion from his kingdom of Ireland, in 

the Lambeth library, it seems more properly to signifj", in a limited sense, the kin^^'s domestic 


Par son deineine Latinier Que mo! conta de luy I'histoire, S:c. 

Lord Lyttelton's Hist Hen. ii. vol. iv. App. p. 270. We might here render it literally his 
J.atinist, an ofTiccr retained by the king to draw up the public instruments in Latin, as in 
>:;. 'Godwinus accipitrarius, Hugo Latinarius, Milo porlarius.' MS. Ex- 
Hut in both the last instances the word may bear its more general and ox- 
aion. Camden explains Lati.mer by intrcpreter. Kern. p. 158. Sec also p. 

7 Esteems. 8 KissiriC. " .'^port, joke. 1" To signity. '1 Since, afterwards. 
12 Went. 13 Taken. 1* JIany times. 15 Young. 1" Handsome, gracefully shaped, &c. 


Of fair colour, with swcte scmblaunt. 

Hir- hatire fulle wclc it semed, 

Mervelik^ the king sche* quemid. 

Oute of messure was he glad, 

For of that maidin he wer alle mad. 

Drunkenes the feend wroght, 

Of that ^paen was al his thoght. 

A meschaunche that time him led, 

He asked that paen for to wed. 

Hengist'' wild not draw a lite, 

Bot graunted him alle so tite. 

And Hors his brother consentid sone. 

Her frendis said, it were to done. 

Thei asked the king to gife hir Kent, 

In douary to take of rent. 

pon that maidin his hert so cast, 
That thei askid the king made fast. 

1 wene the king toke her that day, 
And wedded hire ''on paiens lay. 
Of prest was ther no Venison 

No mes songen, no orison. 

In seisine he had her that night 

Of Kent he gave Hengist the right. 

The erelle that time, that Kent alle held, 

Sir Goragon, that had the scheld, 

Of that gift no thing ^ne wist 

To ^%e was cast oute^^ with Hengist.^^ 

In the second part, copied from Peter Langtoft, the attack of 
Richard I., on a castle held by the Saracens, is thus described. 
The dikes were fulle wide that closed the castle about, 
And depe on ilka side, with bankis hie Vvithout. 
Was ther non entre that to the castelle gan ligge,^^ 
Bot a streiht kauce^'' ; at the end a drauht brigge. 
With grete duble cheynes drauhen over the gate, 
And fifti armed fueynes^'' porters at that yate. 
With slenges and magneles_^° thei kast^*" to kyng Rychard 
Our cristen by parcelles kasted ageynward.-'^ 
Ten sergeauns of the best his targe gan him bcrc 
That egre were and prest to covcre him and to were.^^ 
Himself as a geaunt the cheynes in tuo hew. 
The targe was his warant,-^ that non tille him threw. 
Right unto the gate with the targe thei yede 
Fightand on a gate, undir him the slouh his stede, 
Therfor ne wild he sesse,-^ alone into the castele 

1 Countenance. 2 Attire. 3 Marvellously. 4 Pleased. ^ Pagan, heathen. 

C Would not fly off a bit. 7 In pagans law. According to the heathenish custom. 

8 Benediction, blessing. 9 Knew not. lO^Till. H By. 1" Hearne's Gl. Rob. Glo. p. 605. 
13 Lying. 1-1 Causey, 15 S'H'iiitts, young men, soldiers. !•» IiIa?i£^onels, ^'^d. supr. 

17 Cast. IS In Langtoft's French, 

' Dis seriauntz dcs plus feres e de melz v.anez, 
' Devaunt le cors le Rcis sa targe cunt portez.' 
13 Ward, defend. -0 Guard, defence. 21 ' He could not cease.' 


Thorgh tham all wild prcsse on fote faught he fiillc welc. 
And whan he was withinnc, and fauht as a wilde Icon, 
He fondrcd the Sarazins otuynne,^ and fauht as a dragon, 
AVithout the cristen gan crie, alias ! Richard is taken, 
Tho Normans were sorie, of contcnancc gan blakcn, 
To slo downe and to strove never wild thei stint 
Thei kit ior dede no noyc^, ne for no wound no dynt, 
That in went alle their pres, maugrc the Sarazins alle, 
An fond Richard on dcs fightand, and wonne the halle^. 

From these passages it appears, that Robert of Biainne has scarcely- 
more poetry than Robert of Glocester. He has however taken care to 
acquaint his readers, that he avoided high description, and that sort 
of phraseology which was then used by the minstrels and harpers : 
that he rather aimed to give information than pleasure, and that he 
was more studious of truth than ornament. As he intended his 
chronicle to be sung, at least by parts, at public festivals, he found it 
expedient to apologise for these deficiencies in the prologue ; as he had 
partly done before in his prologue to the Manual of Sins. 

I mad noght for no disours* Ne for seggers no harpours, 

Bot for the luf of symple men. That strange Inglis cannot ken^ : 

For many it ere" that strange Inglis 

In rhyme wate'' never what it is. 
I made it not for to be praysed, Bot at the lewed men were aysed^ 

He next mentions several sorts of verse, or prosody; which were 
then fashionable among the minstrels, and have been long since un- 

If it were made in i-hyme coiiivce, Or in st)-angcre or cntcrlacc, Szc. 

' The rhymes here called, by Robert de Brunne, Couwee, and 
Entcrlace, were undoubtedly derived from the Latin rhymers of 
that age, who used versus caudati et interlaqtteati. Brunne here 
professes to avoid these elegancies of composition, yet he has in- 
termixed many passages in Ri7;ie Couivec. Chronicle, 266. 273. 
&c. And almost all the latter part of his work from the Con- 
quest is written in rhyme entcrlacec, each couplet rhyming in the 
middle, as well as the end. As thus, MSS. Harl. 1002. 

Plausus Gra^corum | lux caecis et via claudis | 
Incola Ccclorum | virgo dignissima laudis. 

1 ITc formed the Saracens into two 'parties.' - Anno}'. 3 Chron. p. 182. 183. 

•1 Tale-tellers, Narratorcs. Lat. Conteours, Fr. Seggers in the next line perhaps means the 
' thing, L e. Saycrs. The writers cither of metrical or of prose romances. Antholop;. 
I'ran. p. 17. 1765. 8vo. Or Disonrs may signify Discourse, i. e. adventures in prose. Wc 
have the ' Devil's disours,' in P. Plowman, fol. x.\.vi. b. edit. 1550. /J /jo«r precisely signifies 
a tale-teller at a /east in Gower, Conf Amant. Lib. vii. fol. 155. a edit. Bcrthe!. 1554. 

He is speaking of the coronation festival of a Roman Emperor. 

WTicn he was gladest as his mete. And every minstrcll had plaide 

And every dissolu had saide Which most was pleasaunt to his ere. 

Du Cange says, that Disetirs were judges of the tourney. Diss. Joinv. p. 179. 

6 Knovv-. 8 It ere. There arc. ' Knew. 8 Eased. 


The rhyme Baston had its appellation from Robert Baston, a celebrated 
Latin rhymer about the year 13 15. The rhyme strange7-e means un- 
common. Canterbury Tales, vol. 4. p. 72. seq. ut infr. The 
reader, curious on this subject, may receive further information from' a 
manuscript in the Bodleian library, in which are specimens of Metra 
Leonina, cristata cornuta, rcciproca, &c. MSS. Laud K. 3. 4to. In 
the same library, there is a very ancient manuscript copy of Aldhelm's 
Latin poem De Vi7'ginitatc et Latide Sanctorum, written about the 
year 700, and given by Thomas Allen, with Saxon glosses, and the 
text almost in semi-saxon characters. These are the two first verses. 
Metrica tyrones nunc promant carmina casti, 
Et laudern capiat quadrato carmine Virgo. 
Langbainc, in reciting this manuscript, thus explains the qttadraticnt 
carmen. ' Scil. prima cujusque versus litera, per Acrostichidem, 
' conficit versum ilium Alctrica tyrones. Ultima cujusque versus 
* litera, ab ultimo carmine ordine retrogardo numerando, hunc versum 
' facit. 

' Jtletrica tyrones nunc promant carmina casti.' 
[Langb. MSS. v. p. 126.] MSS. DiGB. 146. There is a very ancient 
tract, by one Mico, I believe called also Levita, on Prosody, De Quaji- 
titatc Syllabarnm, with examples from the Latin poets, perhaps the 
first work of the land. Bibl. Bodl. .AISS. Bodl. A. 7. 9. See J. L. 
Hooker's Catal. MSS. Bibl. Heidelb. p. 24. who recites a part of 
Mico's Preface, in which he appears to have been a grammatical 
teacher of youth. See also Dacheri Spicileg. torn. ii. p. 300, b. 
edit. ult. 

He adds, that the old stories of chivaliy had been so disguised by 
foreign terms, by additions and alterations, that they were now become 
imintelligible to a common audience : and particularly, that the tale of 
Sir Tristram, the noblest of all, was much changed from the original 
composition of its first author THOMAS. 

I see in song in sedgeying tale^ Of Erceldoune, and Kendale, 
Non tham says as thai tham wroght^, 
And^ in ther saying it seems noght, 
That may thou here in Sir Tristram'*; 

Over gestes^ it has the steem**, Over all that is or was, 

1 'Among the romances that are sung, &c. 

2 'None recite them as they were first written.' 

3 'As Tlicy tell them.' 4 'This you may see, &c. 6 jasteem. 

5 Hearne says that Gests were opposed to Romance. Chron. Langt. Pref. p. 37. But this is 
a mistake. Thus we have the Geste of king Home, a very old metrical Romance. MSS. 
Harl. 2253. p. 70. Also in the Prologue of Ricfiard Citcr de Lion. 

King Richard is the best That is found in scayjeste. 

And the passage in the text is a proof against his assertion. Chaucer, in the following 
passage, by Jestol'rs, does not mean yt'j/trj in modern signification, but writers of adven- 
tures. House of Favie, v. 108. 

And Jestours that tellen tales Both of wepyng and of game. 

In the House of Fame he also places those who wrote ' olde Gestes.' v. 425. It is however 


If men yt sayd as made Thomas. — Thai sayd in so quayntc Inglis 

That manyonc^ wate not what it is. — 
And forsouth I couth nought So strange Inglis as thai wroght. 

On this account, he says, he was persuaded by his friends to write 
his chronicle, in ft more popular and easy style, that would be better 

And men besought me many a time, To turn it bot in light ryme. 

Thai said if I in strange in turne To here it manyon would skurnc", 

For it are names full selcouthe^ That ere not used now in mouth. — 
In the hous of Sixille I was a throwe* 
Danz Robert of Meltone-'', that ye knowe, 

Did it wrj'tc for felawcs sake, When thai wild solace make'*. 

Erceldoune and Kendale are mentioned, in some of these lines of 
Brunne, as old romances or popular tales. Of the latter I can dis- 
cover no traces in our ancient literature. As to the former, Thomas 
Erceldoun, or Ashelington, is said to. have written Prophecies, like 
those of Merlin. Leland, from the Scales Chronicuni' , says that 
' William Banastre^, and Thomas Erceldoune, spoke words yn figure 
' as were the prophecies of Merlin^.' In the library of Lincoln cathe- 
dral, there is a metrical romance entitled, Thomas OF Erseldown, 
which begins with the usual address, 

Lordynges both great and small. 

obvious to observe from whence the present term Jcste arose. See Fauchet, Rec. p. 73. In 
P. Plowman, we have Job's Jestes. fol. xlv. b. 

Job the gentyl in his Jestcs, greatly wytnesseth. 

That is, 'Job in the account of his Life." 

In the same page we have. 

And japers and judgelers, and janglers oijesies. 
That is. Minstrels, Reciters of talcs. Other illustrations of this word will occin- in the course 
of the work. Clutnscms de gesies were common in France in the thirteenth century among the 
troubadours. See Mem. conccrnant les principau.x monumcns dc I'liistoirc de France, Mem. 
Lit. XV. p. 582. by the very learned and ingenious M. dc la Curnc de Saintc Palaye. I add 
the two first lines of a manuscript entitled. Art de Kaknder par K an/, who lived 1256. Bibl. 
Bodl. J. b. 2. Th. [Langb. MSS. 5. 439.] 

De geste ne voil pas chanter, Ne veilles estoires el canter. 

There is even Gesia Passionis et Resurrccttonis CJiristi, in many manuscript libraries. 

1 Many a one. " Scorn. 3 Strange. ■* .A. little while. 

5 " Sir Robert of JIalton." It appears from hence that he was born at Malton in Lincoln- 
shire. 6 Pref Rob. Glouc. p. 57. 58. 

" An ancient French history or chronicle of England never printed, which Leland says was 
tr.",ns!ated out of French rhyme into French prose. Col. vol. i. P. ii. pag. 59. edit. 1770. It 
was probably written or reduced by Thomas Grey into prose. Londinciis. Antiquitat. Cant, 
lib. i. p. 38. Others affirm it to have been the work of John Gray, an eminent churchmen, 
about the year 1212. It be.gins, in the usual form, with the creation of the world, passes on 
to Brutus, and closes with Edward III. 

8 One Gilbert Eanestre was a poet and musician. The Prophesies of Banister of Engiana 
are not uncommon among manuscripts. In the Scotch Prophesies, printed in Edinburgh, 
iCSo, Bniiaster is mentioned ;fs the author of some of them. ' As IJerlington's books and 
Bntiestcr \.(Ai, \x^.' \i. 2. Again, ' Bcid hath bricvcd in his book and Banestcr sXio.' ^. 18. 
He .seems to be confounded with William Banister, a writer of the reign of Edward the third. 
Bcrlington is probably John Bridlin.t;ton, an augustine canon of Bridimgton, who wrote three 
books of Carw/;/(j Vaticinalia^'vn. which he pretends to foretell many accidents that should 
happen to England. MS.S. Digb. Bibl. Bodl. 89. And 186. There are also Versus yatici- 
««/« under Ills name, MSS. Bodl. NE. E. ii. 17. f 21. He died, aged sixty, in 1370. He 
W.1S canonised There are many other Prophetiec, which seem toTiavc been fisbicnable at 
this time, bound up with Bridlington iu MSS. Digb. 1S6. 9 Ut supr. p. 510^ 


In the Bodleian library, among the theological works of John Lawern, 
monk of Worcester, and student in theology at Oxford, about the year 
1448, written with his own hand, a fragment of an English poem occurs, 
which begins thus : 

Joly chepcrt [shepherd] of Askeldowne^. 
In the British Museum a manuscript English poem occurs, with this 
French title prefixed, ' La Countesse de Dunbar, demanda a Thomas 
' Essedounde quant la guere d'Escoce prendret fyn^.' This was pro- 
bably our prophesier Thomas of Erceldown. One of his predictions is 
mentioned in an ancient Scots poem entitled, A New Year's Gift, 
written in the year 1562, by Alexander Scott^. One Thomas Leir- 
mouth, or, was also a prophetic bard, and lived at Erslingtoun, 
sometimes perhaps pronounced Erseldoun. This is therefore probably 
the same person. One who personates him, says. 
In Erslingtoun I dwell at hame, 
Thomas Rymer men call me. 
He has left vaticinal rhymes, in v/hich he predicted the union of Scot- 
land with England, about the year 1279*. Fordun mentions several of 
his prophecies concerning the future state of Scotland^. 

Our author, Robert de Brunne, also translated into English rhymes 
the treatise of cardinal Bonaventura, his contemporary", De cccna et 
passions Domini et poenis S. Maries Virginis, with the following title. 
' Medytaciuns of the Soper of our Lorde Jhesu, and also of hys Passyun, 
'-and eke of the Peynes of hys swete Modyr mayden Marye, the 
' why che made yn Latyn Bonaventure CardynalF. But I forbear to give 
further extracts from this writer, who appears to have professed much 
more industry than genius, and cannot at present be read with much 
pleasure. Yet it should be remembered, that even such a ^vriter as 
Robert de Brunne, uncouth and unpleasing as he naturally seems, and 
chiefly employed in turning the theology of his age into rhyme, con- 
tributed to form a style, to teach expression, and to polish his native 
tongue. In the infancy of language and composition, nothing is 
wanted but writers : at that period even the most artless have 
their use. 

1 MSS. Bodl. 692. fol. = MSS. Harl. 2253. f- i27- It begins thus, 

When man as mad a kingge of a capped man 
When mon is lever other monnes thynge then ys owen. 
3 Ancient Scots poems. Edinb. 1770. i2mo. p. 194. See the ingenious editor's 
notes, p. 312. 

* Scotch Propliccics,^ ut supr. p. ig. 11. 13. 18. 36. viz. Tlie Pro^Jissy of Thomas Rytitcr, 
Pr. ' Stille on my wayes as 1 went.' 

5 Lib. X. cap. 43. 44. I think he is also mentioned by Spotswood. Dempst. xi. 810. 

6 He died 1272. Many of Bonaventu»c's tracts were at this time translated into English. 
In the Harleian manuscripts we have, ' The Treatis that is kallid Prickyiigc of Love, made bi 
'a Frere menour Bonaventure, that was Cardinal of the courte of Rome." 2254. i. f. i. This 
book belonged to Dame Alys Braintwat, 'the worchypfuU prioras of Dartforde.' This is uot 
an uncommon manuscript. 

7 MSS. Harl. 1701. f. 84. The first line is, 

Almighty god in trinite. 
It was n^er printed. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH rOF.TRY. 57 

Robert Grosthcad, bishop of Lincoln^ \vlio died in 1253, is said in 
some verses of Robert de Brunnc, quoted above, to have been fond of 
the metre and music of the minstrels. He was most attached to the 
French minstrels, in whose language he has left a poem, never printed, 
of some length. This was probably translated into English rhyme 
about the reign of Edward I. Nor is it quite improbable, if the tran- 
slation was made at this period, that the translator was Robert ue 
Brunne; especially as he translated another of Grosthead's pieces. "It 
is called by Leland Chateau cPAviour'^. But in one of the Bodleian 
]\ISS. of this book we have the following title, Romance par Mestre 
Robert Grossetcst^. In another it is called, Ce est la vie de D, yiiit 
dc sa Jaimaiiitc set a ordine de Saint Robei't Grossetestc Ice fut cveqt:e 
de Nichole^. And in this copy, a very curious apology to the clergy is 
prefixed to the poem, for the language in which it is written^ ' Et 
' quamvis lingua romana [romance] coram CLERICIS SAPOREM suavi- 
* TAXIS non habeat, tamen pro laicis qui minus intelligunt opusculum 
' illud aptum est".' This piece professes to treat of the creation, the 
redemption, the day of judgment, the joys of heaven, and the torm-ents 
of hell : but the whole is a religious allegory, and under the ideas ot 
chivalry the fundamental articles of christian belief are represented. 
It has the air of a system of divinity, written by a troubadour. The 
poet, in describing the advent of Christ, supposes that he entered into 
a magnificent castle, whicli is the body of the immaculate virgin. The 
structure of this castle is conceived with some imagination, and drawn 
v,-ith the pencil of romance. The poem begins with these lines. 
Ki pense ben, ben pent dire : Sanz penser ne poet suffise : 

De nul bon oure commencer Deu nos dont de li penser 

De ki par ki, en ki, sont Tos les biens ki font en el mond. 

But I hasten to the translation, which is more immediately con- 
nected with our present subject, and has this title. ' Her bygenet a 
tretys that ys yclept Castel OF LovE that ' biscop Grosteyzt made 
ywis for lewde mennes by hove^.' Then follows the prologue or intro- 

That good thinketh good may do_ 
And God wol help him thar to : 

\ The author and translator are often thus confounded in manuscripts. To an old Eng^h 
religious poem on the Holy Virgin, we find the following title. InciMt nuidam cantus quFm 
composuit /rater Thomas de Hales de ordine fratrum vtinoriim, &c. MSS. Col. Jes. Oxon. 
85. supr. citat. Butthisis the title of our friar's original, A Latin hymn dc B, Maria Vircine, 
improperly adopted in the translation. Thomas de Hales was a Franciscan friar, a doctor of 
the Sorhonne, and flourished about the year \-^t^o. We shall sec other proofs of this. 

2 .Script. Brit. p. 285. a MSS. Bodl.'NE. D. 69. 

4 F. 16. Laud. fol. mcmbran. The word Nicole is perfectly French for Lincoln. See like- 
wise .MSS. Eodl. E. 4. 14. 

^ In the hand-writing of the poem itself, which is very antient. 

6 F. I. So also in MSS. C. C. C. 0.\on. 232. In MSS. Harl. iiai. 5. 'De Roherd Gross- 
etestc le evesquc de Nicholc en tretis en Franceis, del commcncememt du monde, &c.' f. 156. 
Cod. memt-ran. 

7 Bibl. Bodl. MS. Vernon, f. 292. This translation was never printed : and is, I bcIicvD, a 
rare manuscript. 


Ffoi' nas never good work wrougt 

With outc biginninge of good thougt. 

Ne never was wrougt non vucl^ thyng 

That Aaicl thougt nas the biginnyng. 

God ffuder, and sone and hoHgoste 

That alle thing on eorthe fixt- and wost, 

That one Godart and thrilhhod^, 

And threo persones in one hod'\ 

Withouten end and bi ginninge, 

To whom we ougten over alle thinge, 

Worschepe him with trewe love, 

That kineworthe king art us above, 

In whom, of whom, thorw whom booth, 

Alle the good schipes that we hire i seoth, 

He leve us thenche and worchen so, 

That he us schylde from vre so, 

All we habbeth to help neode 

That we ne beth all of one theode, 
Ne i boren in one londe, Ne one speche undirstonde 

Nemowe we al Latin wite^ Ne Ebreu ne Gru*^ that beth I write, 

Ne Ffrench, ne this other spechen, 

That me mihtc in worlde sechen. 

To herie god our derworthi drihte'', 

As vch mon ougte with all his mihte ; 
Lost song syngen to god zerne^, With such speche as he con lerne : 
Ne monnes mouth' ne be i dut Ne his ledene^ i hud 

To serven his god that him wrougte, 

And maade al the world of nougte. 

Of Englische I shal nir resun schowen 
Ffor hem that can not i knowen, Nouther French ne Latyn 

On Englisch I chulle tullen him. 
Wherefor the world was i wroht, Ther after how he was bi tauht, 
Adam vre ffader to ben his, With al the merthe of paradys 

To wonen and welden to such ende 
Til that he scholde to hevene wende, And hou sone he hit fu les 
And seththen hou for bouht wes, Thurw the heze kynges sone 

That here in eorthe wolde come, 

Ffor his sustren that were to boren, 

And ffor a prison thas was for loren 

And hou he made as ze schal heren 

That heo i oust and sauht weren 

And to wruche a castel he alihte, &c. 
But the following are the most poetical passages of this poem. 
Godnolde a lihte in none manerc, But in feir stude^** and in clere, 
In feir and clene siker hit wes, Ther god almihti his in ches^^ 

In a Castel well comeliche, * Muchc^^ and ffeii'e, and loveliche 

1 Well, good. 2 F. kcxi. highest. 3 Trinity. 4 Unity. 5 Understand. 

G Greek. In John Trevisas's dialogue concerning the translation of the Polychronicon, 
MSS. Harl. 1900. b. f. 42. ' Aristotile's bokes, &c. were translated out of Griie'vaxo Latin. 
'Also with praying of kyng Charles [the Bald], Johan Scott translated Denys bookes out of 
' Cr« into Latyn.' " 'To bless god our beloved lord.' 8 Earnestly. Language. 

10 Place. 11 ' Chose his habitation.' 12 Great. 


That is the castel! of allc floure, Of solas and of socour, 

In the mere he stont bi twcne two, 
Ne hath he forlak for no fo : For the tour^ is so wcl with outen, 

So depe i diched al aboutcn, That non kunnes asayhng, 

Nc may him dcrven fer no thing ; He stont on heiz rocke and found, 

And is y planed to the ground 

That ther may won non vueP thing, 
Ne derve ne gynncs castyng ; And thaug be he so lovhche, 

He is so drcdful and hatchchc, To all tliulke that ben liis fon 

That hco flen him evcrichon ; 

Ffor smal tourcs that betli abo\iten, 

To witcn the heige toure withouten, 

Sethe^ beoth thre bayles witlialle,* . 

So fcir i diht with strange walle. 

As heo bcth here after I write, 

Ne may no man the^ feirschipe I wite, 

Ne may no tongue ne may liit telle, 

Ne thougf thincke, ne mouthc spcUe : 

On trusti rocke heo stondeth fast, 

And with depe diches bethe bi cast, 

And the camels" so stondeth upright, 

Wei I planed, and feir i dight : 

Seven barbicanes ther beth i wrouht 
With grct ginne al bi thouht". And cvrichon hath gat and foure, 

Ther never fayleth nc socourc. Never schal so him stonde with 

That thider wold flen to sechen grith^ 
This cast«l is siker fair aboutcn. And is al depeynted withouten. 

With threo heowes that wel beth sene'' ; 
So is the foundement al grenc. That to the rock fast lith. 

Wel is that ther murthe i sith, Ffor the greneschip lasteth evcre, 

And his heuh ne leoseth nevere, Sethen abouten that other heug 
So is yndc so ys blu^''. Thatthemidelhcug we clcpethariht 

And schyneth so faire and so briht. 
The thridde heug an ovemast Over wrigeth al and so ys i cast, 

That withinnen and withouten. The castle lihteth al abouten. 

And is raddorc than eny rose schal Thatshunnethashitbarnd^^were^^. 

W'ithinne the castle is whit schinynge 
So^' the snows that is snewynge. And castcth that liht so wyde 

After long the tour and be syde. 

That never cometh ther wo ne woug. 

As swetnesse ther is ever i noug. 
Amydde^* the heige toure is springynge A well that ever is eorninge^^ 
With four stremes that striketh wcl, And crncth upon the gravel, 

And fulleth the duches about the wal, Much blisse ther is over al, 

1 La tur est fi bien en clos. Fr. Orig. 

- Vile. ^ Trcs bailes en tour. Fr Orig. ■* Jloreover there are three, &c. 5 Beauty. 
" Kernelfi. — Kcrneaus bien poli. Fr. Orig. 7 pur bon cngia fait. Fr. Orig. 8(Jouiiscl. 
" La chastle est a bel bon De hors de peint a en virun 

De trcis culurs divcrscmcnt. Fr. Orig. 
I'J Si est yndc si est blu. Fr. Orig. Jl Durned, on fire. 
1- Plus est vcrmail kc nest rose E picrt ardaiit chosc. Fr, Orig. 13 As. 
1' In mi la tur plus hautcinc Est surdant unc suntayne 

Duat issent quater rui&sell Ki bruLiict par le gravel, &c. Fr. Orig. J' Running. 


Ne dar he seeke non other leche That mai riht of this water eleche. 
In thulke^ derwoithi faire toure Ther stent a trone with much honour, 
Of v.'hit yvori and feirore of hht Than the someres day when hcis briht, 

\\"ith cumpas i throwen and with £^in al i do 

Seven steppes ther beoth therto, &c. 
The ffoure smale toures ab6uten, That with the heige toure withouten 

Ffour had thewes that about hire i seoth, 

Ffoure vertus cardinals beoth, &c. 

And^ which beoth threo bayles get 

That with the camels ben so wel i set, 

And i cast with cumpas and walled aboutcn, 

That wileth the heihe tour with outcn : 

Bote the inmost bayle I wote 

Bitokeneth hire holi maydenhode, &c. 
The middle bayle that wite ge, Bitokeneth hire holi chastite 
And sethen the overmast bayle Bitokenetlr hire holie sposaile, Sic. 

The seven kernels abouten, 

That with greot gin beon y wrougl v\'ithouten, 
And witeth this castel so well. With arwe and with quarreP, 

That beoth the seven vertues with wunne 

To overcum the seven deadly sinne, &c*. 

It v/as undoubtedly a great impediment to the cultivation and pro- 
gressive improvement of the English language at these early period", 
that the best authors chose to write in French. Many of Robert 
Grosthead's. pieces are indeed in Latin ; yet where the subject is 
popular, and not immediately addressed to learned readers, he adopted 
the Romance or French language, in preference to his native English 
Of this, as we have already seen, his Manuel Peche, and his 
Chateau d' Amour, are sufficient proofs, both in prose and verse : 
and his example and authority must have had considerable influence 
in encouraging this practice. Peter Langtoft, our Augustine canon of 
Bridlington, not only compiled the large chronicle of England, above 
recited, in French ; but even translated Herbert Boscam's Latin Life 
of Thomas of Beckett into French rhymes.^ John Hoveden, a native 
of London, doctor of divinity, and chaplain to queen Eleanor, mother 
of Edward L, v%-rote in French rhymes a book entitled, Rosariinn di 
Nativilaic, Passionc, Asceiisionc, Thcsu C/iris^P.] Various other proofs 

1 En cele bel tur a bone A de yvoire un trone 
Ke plusa eilfi blanchor Ci en mi cste la beau jur 
Per engin est compassez, S:c. 2^r. Orig. 

2 Les tries bailies du chastel Ki sunt overt au kernel 

Qui a compas sunt en virunr E dcfondent Ic dungun. Fr. Orig: 

3 Les barbicanes feet Kis hers dc bailies sunt sait, 

Ki bicn gardent le chastel, K'dc feete e de quarrel. Fr. Orig. 

4 Afterwards the fountain is explained to be God's grace : Charity is constable of the castle, 

5 Pits. p. 890. Append. Vi'ho with great probability supposes him te have been an Englisli- 

li MSS. Bibl. C. C. C. Cant. G. 16. where it is also called the iVi;?-/:/^;^^^. Pr. 'Alme 
'fesse lit de poresso.' In this manuscript the whole title is this. ' Le Rossingnol, ou la 
• pensce Jehan de Hovedene clerc la roine d'Engletcrre mere le roi Edward de la naissance et 


have before occurred. Lord Ljttelton quotes from the Lambeth 
hbrary a manuscript poem in French and Norman verse on the sub- 
ject of king Dermod's expulsion from Irchmd, and the recovery of his 
kingdom^ I could mention many others. Anonymous French 
pieces, both in prose and verse, and written about this time, are 
innumerable in our manuscript repositories". Yet this fashion pro- 
ceeded rather from necessity and a principle of convenience, than from 
affectation; The vernacular English, as I have before remarked, was 
rough and unpolished : and although these writers possessed but few 
ideas of taste and elegance, they embraced a foreign tongue, almost 
equally familiar, and in which they could convey their sentiments with 
greater case, grace, and propriety. It should also be considered, that 
our most eminent scholars received a part of their education at the 
university of Paris. Another, and a very material circunistance, con- 
curred to countenance this fashionable practice of composing in French, 
It procured them readers of rank and distinction. The English court, 
for more than two hundred years after the conquest, was totally 
French : and our kings, either from birth, kindred, or marriage, and 
from a perpetual intercourse, seem to have been more closely con- 
nected with France than with England. It was however fortunate 
that these French pieces were written, as some of them met with their 
translators : who perhaps unable to aspire to the praise of original 
writers, at least by this means contributed to adorn their native tongue : 
and who very probably would not have written at all, had not original 
writers, I mean their contemporaries who wrote in French, furnished 
them with models and materials. 

Hearne, to whose diligence even the poetical antiquarian is much 
obliged, but whose conjectures are generally wrong, imagines, that the 
old English metrical romance, called Rycharde cuer de lyon, was 
written by Robert de Brunne. It was at least probable, that the 
leisure of monastic life produced many rhymers. From proofs here 

'c!c la mort et du yelicvemcns ct dc lascension Jesu Criss et de lassumpcion notre dame.' 
This MSS. was written in the 14th century. Our author, John Hoveden, was also skilled in 
sacred music, and a great writer of Latin hymns. He died, and was buried, at Hoveden 
1275. Pits. n. 356. Bale, v. 79. 

'there is an old French metrical life of Tobiah, which the author, most probably an English- 
man, says he undertook at the request of William, Prior of Kenilworth in Warwickshire. 
M.SS. Jcs. Coll. Oxon. 85/ supr. citat. 

Le prior Cwilleyme me prie Dc I'eglyse seyntc !\Iarie 

De Kcnclworth an Ardenne, Ki porte le plus haute pcync 

De charite, ke nul eglyse Del reaumc a devysc 

Ke jeo liz en romaunz le vie Dc kelui ki ont nun Tobie, &c. 

1 HLst. Hen. ii. vol. iv. p. 270. Notes. It was translated into prose by Sir G. Carew in Q. 
Elizabeth's time: lliis translation was printed by Harris in his Hibehnia. It was probably 
writLen about 1190. Ware, p. 56. And compare Wnlpole's Anecd. Paint, i. 28. Notes. The 
Lambeth MSS. seems to be but a fragment, viz. MSS. Hibl. Lamb. Hib. A. 

- Among the learned Englishmen who now wrote in French, The Editor of thcCANTEKnirRV 
Tales mentions HelisdeGuincestre, or Wi.vchester, a translator of Cato into French. And 
Hue de Rotcland, author of the Romance, in French verse, called Ipomcdon, MSS. Cott. 
Ve-SP. A vii. The latter is also supposed to have written a French Dialogue in metre, MSS. 
Uodl. .3504. -ia pUinte j(iar entre mis Sire Henry de Lacy Cotinte de Nichole [Lincoln] it 


given we may fairly conclude, that the monks often wrote for the 
minstrels : and althoug-h our Gilbertine brother of Bmnne chose to 
relate true stories in plain language, yet it is reasonable to suppose, 
that many of our ancient tales inverse containing fictitious adventures, 
were written, although not invented, in the religious houses. The 
romantic history of Giiy earl of Warwick, is expressly said, on good 
authority, to have been wTitten by Walter of Exeter, a Franciscan 
Friar of Carocus in Cornwall, about the year 1292^. The libraries of 
the monasteries were full of romances. Bevis of Southampton, in 
French, was in the library of the abbey of Leicester^. In that of the 
abbey of Glastonbury, we find Liber de Excidio Trojcs, Gesta Ricardi 
Regis, and Gesta Alexandri Regis, in the year 1247^. These were 
some of the most favorite subjects of romance, as I shall shew here- 

Sire Wauter de Byblesworth pur la croiserie en la terre seinte. And a French romantic 
poem on a knight called Capanee, perhaps Statius's Capaneus. MSS. Cott. Vesp. A. iii. ut 
supr. It begins. 

Qui bons countes viel entendre. 

See "The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer. To which are added An Essay upon his 
' Language and Versification', an Introductory Discourse, and Notes. Lond. 1775. 
'4 vol. 8vo.' This masterly performance, in which the author has displayed great taste, judge- 
ment, sagacity, and the most familiar knowledge of those books which peculiarly belong to the 
province of a commentator on Chaucer, did not appear till more than half of my Second 
Volume was printed. I have before hinted that it was sometimes customary to intermi.x Latin 
with French. As thus. MSS. Harl. 2 253. f. 137. b. 

Dieu roy de Mageste, Ob personas triiias, 

Nostre roy e sa meyne Ne perire Jiiias, is'c. 

Again, ibid. f. 76. Where a lover, an Englishman, addresses his mistress who was of Paris. 

Dum ludisjloribits ■vclut laciuia Le dieu. d'amour moi tient en tiel A u^ustia, &c 

Sometimes their poetry was half French and half English. As in a song to the holy virgin 
on our Saviour's passion. Ibid. f. 83. 

Mayden moder milde, oyez eel oreysoun, From shome thou me shilde, e de ly mal feloun ; 
For love of thine childe me menez de trefoun, Ich wes wod and wilde, ore su en prisoun, &c. 
In the same MSS. I find a French poem probably written by an Englishman, and in the year 
1300, containing the adventures of Gilote and Johanne, two ladies of gallantry, in various 
parts of England and Ireland ; particularly at Winchester and Pontefract. f 66. b. The 
curious reader is also referred to a French poem, in which the poet supposes that a minstrel, 
juglcour, travelling from London, cloathed in a rich tabard, met the king and his retinue. 
The king asks him many questions ; particularly his lord's name, and the price of his horse. 
The minstrel evades all the king's questions by impertment answers ; and at last presumes to 
give his majesty advice. Ibid. f. 107. b. 

1 Carew's .Surv. Cornw. p. 59. edit, ut supr. I suppose Carew means the metrical Romance 
of Guy. But Bale says that Walter wrote Vitain Guidoiiis, which seems to imply a prose 
liistorj'. X. 78. Giraldus Cambrensis also wrote Guy's history. Hearne has printed an ///.j/<9r/« 
Giiidonis de Wa-rwik, Append, ad Annal. Dunstaple, num. .\i. It was extracted from 
Gerald. Cambrens. hist. Reg. West-Sax. capit. xi. by Girardus Cornubiensis. Lydgate's life 
of Guy, never printed, is translated from this Girardus ; as Lydgate himself informs us at 
the end. MSS. Eibl. Bodl. Laud. D. 31 . f. 64. Tit. Heregvnnetk the life of Guy of IVarwyk. 
Out of the Latyn made by the Chronycler Called of old Girard Cornubyek-.;:; : 
Which wrote the dedis, with grete diligence, 
Of them that were in Westsex crowned kyiigcs, &c. 

Wharton, Angl. Sacr. i. p. 89. Somehave thought, that Girardus Cornubiensis and Giraldus 
Cambrensis were the same persons. This passage of Lydgate may perhaps shew the contrary. 
We have also in the same Bodleian manuscript, a poemonGuyand Colbrand, viz. MSS. Laud. 
D. 31. f. 87. More will be said on this subject. 

- Registnun Libror:n?i ontniiivi et yocalimn in vionasterio S. Marioe de Pratis prope Ley- 
ccstriam. fol. 132. b. In MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Laud. I. 75. This catalogue was written by Will. 
Charite one of the monks, A.D. 1517. fol. 139. 

!* Hcavne's Joann. Glaston. Catal. Bibl. Glaston. p. 435. One of the books on Troy is called 
bonus et magnits. There is also ' Liber de Captione Antiochiae, Gallice. ' legibilis,' ibid. 


after. In a catalogue of the library of the abbey of Peterborough are 
recited, Awys and Amelioii}-^ Sir Tristram, Guy de Bnrgoync, and 
Gcsta Osiu'lis^, all in French : together with Merlin's Prophecies, 
TurpiiUs CliarlemagJie, and the Destruction of Troy^. Among the 
books given to Winchester college by the founder William of Wykc- 
ham, a prelate of high rank, about the year 1387, we have Chronicon 
Trojcc^. In the library of Windsor college, in the reign of Heniy VII 1., 
were discovered in the midst of missals, psalters, and homilies, Dtto 
libri Gallici de Romances, de quibiis 717ms liber de ROSE, et ali7is dijffl- 
cilis v7ateriQ-^. This is the language of the king's commissioners, who 
searched the archives of the college : the first of these two French 
romances is perhaps John de Meun's Ro7nan de la Rose. A friar, in 
Pierce Plowman's Visions, is said to be much better acquainted with the 
Rimes of Robifi Hood, and Randal of Chester, than with his Paternoster^. 
The monks, who very naturally sought all opportunities of amuse- 
ment in their retired and confined situations, were fond of admitting 
the minstrels to their festivals ; and were hence familiarised to romantic 
stories. Sev^enty shillings were expended on minstrels, who accom- 
panied their songs with the harp, at the feast of the installation of 
Ralph abbot of St. Augustin's at Canterbury, in the year 1309. At this 
magnificent solemnity, six thousand guests were present in and about 
the hall of the abbey'^. It was not deemed an occurrence unworthy to 
be recorded, that when Adam de Orleton, bishop of Winchester, 
visited his cathedral priory of St. Swithin in that city, a minstrel 
named Herbert was introduced, who sung the Song of Colbrond a. 
Danish giant, and the tale of Q7cee7i Ej>7ina delive7'ed froi7t the plo7igh- 
shares, in the hall of the prior Alexander de Herriard, in the year 1338. 
I will give this veiy curious article, as it appears in an ancient register 
of the priory'. ' Et cantabar yoc7ilator g7iida7)i 7io7nine Hercbcrt7is 
' CANTICUM Colbrondi, 77ec770fi Gestum Emme regine a judicio ignis 
'liberate, in a7ila prioi'is^.'' In an annual accompt-roU of the 

1 The same Romance is in MSS. Harl. Brit. Mus. 2386. t- 42. See Du Gang. Gloss. Lat. i. 
Ind. Auctor. p. 193. There is an old MSS. French Morality on this subject, Comment 
Aviille tiie scs deux ciifans four ^lerir Amis sen companion, &c. Beaiichamps, Rech. 
Theatr. Fr. p. 109. There is a French metrical romance Histoire d'Aiiiys et Aniilion, 
Brit. Mus. MSS. Reg. 12. C. xii. 9. 'And at Bennet college, Num. l. i. It begins, 
Ki veut oir chauncoun damur.' 

- There is a Romance called Otuel, MSS. Bibl. Adv. Edingb. W. 4. i. xxvlii. I think-hc 
is mentioned in Charlemagne's story, He is converted to Christianity, and marries Charle- 
magne's daughser. 

•< Gunton's Peterb. p. 108. seq. — I will give some of the titles as they stand in the catalogue. 
Dares Phrygius de Excidio Trojce, bis. p. 180. Propheti<e Merlini versifice. p. 182 Gcsta 
Caroli secundum Turpinum p. 187. Gesia /Enete post destructionem Trejce. p. 198. Bel- 
liim contra Runcivallum. p. 202. There are also the two following articles, viz., ' Certamcn 
' inter rcgem Johamiem et Barones, versilice. ' Per H. de Davennech.' p. i£8. This I 
have never seen, nor know anything of the author. 'Versus de Indo scaccorum.' p. 195. 

■» Ex archivis Coll. Wint. 8 Dud^'. Mon. iii. Ecclcs. Collcgiat. p. 80. 

8 Fol. xxvi. b. edit. 1552, ^ Dec. Script, p. 2011. 

8 Rcgistr. Priorat. S Swithini Winton. MSS. pen.amen in Archiv. de Wolvcscy Wint. 
These were local stories Guy fought and conqutn^d Colbrond a iJaiush champion, just 
without the northern walls of tlic city of Winchcitcr, in a meadow to this day called Daue- 


Augustine priory of Bicester in Oxfordshire, for the year 1431, the 
following entries relating to this subject occur, which I chuse to exhibit 
in the words of the original. ' Dona Prioris. Et in datis cuidam 
' citharizatori in die sandi Jcroniini, viii. d. — Et in datis alteri citJiari- 
' zatori in ffesto Apostolorum Simonis et Jnde cognomine Hendy, 
' xii. d. — Et in datis cuidam jninstrallo doinim le Talbot infra natale 
' do7nini, xii. d. — Et in datis ininistrallis do7nini le St, aunge in die 
' E'piphanie, xx. d.—Et in datis duobns ininistrallis doinini Lovell in 
' crastino S. Marci evangeliste, xvi. d. — Et in datis ministrallis ducis 
' Glocestrie in ffesto nativitatis beate Alarte^ iii s. iv d.' I must add, as 
it likewise paints the manners of the monks, ' Et in datis cuidam, 
' Urfai'io, iiii d^. In the prior's accounts of the Augustine canons of 
Maxtoke in Warwickshire, of various years in the reign of Henry VI., 
one of the styles, or general heads, is De Joculatoribus et Mimis. 
I will, without apology, produce some of the particular articles ; not 
distinguishing betweezi Minii, Joculatores, yocatores, Lusores, and 
Citharistce : who all seem alternately, and at different times, to have 
exercised the same arts of popular entertainment. ^Joculatori in 
' septiniana S. Michaelis, iv d. — Citliariste tempore natalis domini et 
' aliis jocatoribus, iv d.— Mimis de Solihull, vi d. — Mimis de Coventry, 
' XX d. — Mimo domini Ferrers, vi d. — Ltisoribus de Eton, viii d. — 
*■ Lusoribus de Coveiitry^ viii d. — Lusoribus de Daventry, xii d. — Mimis 
' de Coventry, xii d.^ Mimis domini de Asteley, xii d. — Item iiii. mimis 
' domini de Warewyck, x d. — Mimo ceco, ii d. — Sex mimis domini de 
' Clyton. — Duobus mimis de Rugeby^ x d.— Cuidam cithariste, vi d. — 
' Mimis domini de Asteley, xx d. — Cuidam citliariste, vi d. — Cithariste 
' de Coventry, vi d. — Duobus citharistis de Coventry, viii d. — Mimis de 
' Rugcby, viii d. — Mimis domini de Buckeridge, xx d. — JMimis domini 
' de Stafford, ii s. — Luforibus de Colcshille, viii d^.' Here we m.ay 
observe, that the minstrels of the nobility, in whose families they were 
constantly retained, travelled about the country to the neighbouring 
monasteries ; and that they generally received better gratuities for 
these occasional performances than the others. Solihull, Rugby, Cole- 
shill, Eton, or Nun-Eton, and Coventry, are all towns situated at no 

march, and Coldbrond's battle-axe wan kept in the treasury of S. Swithin's priory till the disso- 
lution. Th. Rudb. apud Wharton, AngJ. Sacr. i. 211. This history remained in rude painting 
against the walls of the north transept of the cathedral till within my memory. Queen Emma 
was a patroness of this church, in which she underwent the Li-ial of walking blindfold over nine 
red hot ploughshares. Colbrond is mentioned in the old romance of the Sqiiyr of Lo've De- 
gree. Signat. a. iii. 

Or els so doughty of my honde As was the gyauntre syr Colbronde. 

See what is said above of Guy earl of Warwick, who will again be mentioned. 

1 Ex. Orig. in Rotul. pergamcn. Tit. 'Compotus dui Ricardi Parentyn Prioris, et fratris 
'Ric. Albon canonici, bursarii ibidem, de omnibus bonis per cosdem receptis et libera'.is a 
'crastino Michcalis anno Henrici Sexti post conquestum octavo usque in idem crastinuni 
'anno R. Henrici pra:dicti nono.' In Thcsauriar. Coll. SS. Trin. Oxon. Bishop Kennct has 
printed a Computus of the same monastery under the same reign, in which three 01 four 
entries of the same sort occur. Paroch. Autiq. p. 57S. 

- Ex. orig. penes me. 


great distance from the priory.^ Nor must I omit that two minstrels 
from Coventry made part of the festivity at the consecration of John, 
prior of this convent, in the year 1432, viz, 'Daf. duobits mimis de 
' Coventry in die consccrationts prioris, xii d-. Nor is it improbable, 
that some of our greater monasteries kept minstrels of their own in 
regular pay. So early as the year 11 80, in the reign of Henry II., 
ycffrey the harper received a corrody, or annuity, from the Bene- 
dictine abbey of Hide near Winchester^ ; undoubtedly on condition 
that he should ser\-e the monks in the profession of a harper on public 
occasions. The abbies of Conway and Stratflur in Wales respectively 
maintained a bard* : and the Welsh monasteries in general were the 
grand repositories of the poetry of the British bards'"". 

In the statutes of New-college at Oxford, given about the year 1380, 
the founder bishop William of Wykeham orders his scholars, for their 
recreation on festival days in the hall after dinner and supper, to entcr- 

1 In the ancient annual rolls of accompt of Winchester college, there are many articles of this 
sort. The few following, extracted from a great number, may serve as a Specimen. They 
are chiefly in the reign of Edward iv. viz, I?i the year 1^81. 'Etin fol. ministrallis dom. 
' Regis venientibus ad collegium xv. die Aprilis, cum i2(/. solut ministrallis dom. Episcopi 
' Wyntou venientibus ad collegium primo die Junii iiiij. iiiit/. — Et in dat. ministrallis dom. Arun- 

' dell ven. ad. Coll. cum-xiii^?. dat. ministrallis dom. de Lawarr, us. iiiit^.' /« i/ie year 1483. 

' Sol. ministrallis dom. Regis ven, ad Coll. iii.f. iiiirf.' In the year i^Ti. ' Et in dat. 

' ministrallis dom. Regis cum. \\\\d. dat. duobus Herewardis ducis Clarcntie,xx</. — Et in dat. 
' Johanni Stulto quondam dom. de Warewyco, cum iii^'. dat. Thome Nevyle taborario. — Et in 
' datis duobus ministrallis ducis Gloucestrie, cum md. dat, uni ministrallo ducis de Northum- 

' bcrlond, vnid. Et in datis duobUs citharatoribus ad vices venient. ad collegium viiin'.' 

' In the year 1479. ' Et in datis satrapis Wynton venientibus ad coll. festo Epiphanie, cum 
' xiid. dat. ministrallis dom. episcopi venient. ad. coll. infra octavas Epiphanie, Wis.' — in the 
'year 1477. ' Et in dat. ministrallis dom. Principis venient. ad coll. festo Ascen.sionis Domini, 

' cum x.\(/. dat. ministrallis dom. Regis, v.s.' In the year 1464. ' Et m dat. ministrallis 

' comitis Kancie venient. ad Coll. in mense Julii ihi^. iiiirf.' -In the year xafi-j . ' Et in datis 

' quatuor mimis dom. de Arundell venient. ad.Coll. xiii. dieffebr. ex curiahtate dom. Custodis, 

' ii^.' -In the year 1466. *Et in dat. satrapis, [ttt sujir.] cum lis. dat ini. interludentibus et 

'J. Meke cilharistae eodemn ffesto iiii^.' — • — In the year 14S4. 'Etin dat. uni ministrallo 

' dom. principis, etin aliis ministrallis ducis Gloucestrie v. die Julii. xxd.' The minssrels of 

the bishop, of lord Arundel, and the duke of Gloucester, occur very frequently. In dorao 
muniment, coll. prasdict. in cista ex orentali latere. 

In rolls of the reign of Henry the sixth, the countess of Westmoreland, sister of cardina 
Beaufort, is mentioned as being entertained in the college ; and in her retinue were the mins- 
trels of her household, who received gratuties. Ex Rot. Comp. orig. 

In these rolls there is an cntrj', which seems to prove that the -itsores were a sort of actors 
in dumb show or masquerade. Hot an. 1467. ' Dat lusoribus de civitate Winton venientibus 
ad collegium in afij/aratti suo mens, julii, \s. \\\\d' This is a large reward. I will add 
from the same rolls, ann, 1479. 'In dat Joh. 'Pontisbery et socio ludenlibus in aula in 
' die circumcisionis, \\s.' 

" Ibid. It appears that the Coventry-men were in high repute for their performances of this 
sort. In the entertainment presented to queen Elizabeth at Keniiworth castle, in the year 
1373, The Coventry-men exhibited ' their old storiall slieaw.' Laueham's narrative, SiC. p. 32. 
Minstrels were hired from Coventry to perform at Holy Crosse feast at Abnigdon, Berks, 1422. 
Heme's Lib. Ni^ Scicc. ii. p. 598. See an account of their play on Corpus Chrisli day, iu 
Steven's Monasticon, i. p. 238. And Heame's l-'ondiui, p. 1430. sub. an 1492. 

^ Aladox, HLst. Exchecqucr, p. 251. Where he is styled, ' Galsridus citharoedus,' 

4 Powcl's Ca.mduia. To the Header, pag. i. edit. 1581. 

8 Evans's Diss, de Bardis. Specimens of Welsh poetry, fi. 92. Wood relates a story of two 
itinerant priests coming, towards night, to a cell of Benedictines near Oxford, where, on a 
supposition of their being mimes or minstrels, ihey gained admittance. But the cellarer, 
sacrist, and others of the brethren, hoping to have been entertained with ihcW pesticii/atoriis 
liidierisqnc artil'us, and finding tlicm to be nothing more than two indigent who 
could only administer spiritual consolation, and being consequently disappointed of their mirlh, 
beat ihcm and turned tncm out of the mon.istcry. Hist. Aniiq Univ. 0.\on. i. 67. Under ihu 
year 1224. 


tain themselves with songs, and other diversions consistent with 
decency : and to recite poems, chronicles of kingdoms, the wonders of 
the world, together with the like compositions, not misbecoming the 
clerical character. I will transcribe his words. ' Ouando ob dei re- 

* verentiam aut sue matrisj vel alterius sancti cujuscunque, tempore 
' yemali, ignis in aula sociis ministratur ; tunc scolaribus et sociis post 
' tempus prandii aut cene, liccat gracia recreationis, in aula, in Canti- 

* lenis et aliis solaciis honestis, moram facere condecentem ; et Poe- 
' mata, regnorum Chronicas, et mundi hujus Mirabilia, ac cetera que 
' statum clericalem condecorant, seriosius pertractare^' The latter 
part of this injunction seems to be an explication of the former : and 
on the whole it appears, that the Cantilenoz which the scholars should 
sing on these occasions, were a sort of Pocmata, or poetical Chronicles, 
containing genei'al histories of kingdoms^. It is natural to conclude, 
that they preferred pieces of English histoiy : and among Hearne's 
MSS. I have discovered some fragments on vellum^, containing metrical 
chronicles of our kings ; which, from the nature of the composition, 
seem to have been used for this purpose, and answer our idea of these 
general Chronic(s ragnot'uvi. Hearne supposed them to have been 
written about the time of Richard I. : but I rather assign then: to the 
reign of Edward I., who died in the year 1307. But the reader shall 
judge. The following fragment begins abruptly with some rich presents 
which king Atheistan received from Charles III., king of France : a 
nail which pierced our Saviour's feet on the cross, a spear with which 
Charlemagne fought against the Saracens, and which some supposed 
to be the spear which pierced our Saviour's side, a part of the holy 
cross enclosed in crystal, three of the thorns from the crown on our 
Saviour's head, and a crown formed entirely of precious stones, which 
was endued with a mystical power of reconcihng enemies, 

Ther in was closyd a nayle grete That went thorw oure lordis fete. 

Gyt* he presentyd hym the spere That Charles was wont to bere 

Agens the Sarasyns in batayle; Many swore and sayde saunfeyle^, 

That with that spere smerte^ Our lorde was stungen to the herte. 

And a party "^ of the holi crosse In ciystal done in a cloos. 

And three of the thornes kene That was in Cristes hede sene, 

And a ryche crowne of golde Non rycher kyng wer y scholde, 

1 Rubric, xviii. The same thing is enjoined in tlie statutes of Winchester college, Ruhr. xv. 
I do not remember any such passage in the statufes of preceding colleges in cither university. 
But this injunction is afterwards adopted, in the statutes of Magdalene college; and from 
thence, if I recollect right, was copied into those of Corpus Christi, Oxford. 

- Hearne thus understood the passage. ' The wife founder of New college permitted them 
' [metrical chronicles] to be sung by the fellows and scholars upon extraordinary days.' Hem- 
ing. Cartul. ii. Append Numb. ix. § vi. J>. 662. 

3 Given to him by Mr. Murray. See Heming. Chartul ii. p. 634. And Rob. Glouc. ii.. pi. 
731. Nunc. MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Oxon. R.\wlins. Cod. 410 [E. Pr. 87.] 

■l.Yet. Moreover. 5 Without doubt. Fr. 

6 Sharp, strong. So in the Lives of t!ic Saints, JMSS. supr. citat. In th ; Life of & 

For saint Edmund had a S7iterte zerde, S:c. L e. ' He had a strong rod in his han ', &c.' 

7 Part. Piece 


Y made within and without With pretius stonys alle a bowte, 

Of cchc manir vcrtu thiy' The stonys haddc the maystry 

To make frcndes that cvere were fone, Such a crowne was never none, 
To none erthelychc mon y wrogth Syth God made the world of nogth. 

Kyng Athelstune was glad and blythe 

And thankud the kynge of Ffraunce swythe, 
Of gyfts nobul and ryche In ciystiante was no hym leche. 

In his tyme, I undcrstondc, Was Guy of Warwyk yn Inglondc, 

And ftbr Englond dede batayle With amygti gyande, without fayle; 

His name was hotc Colbrond Gwy hym slough with his hond 

Seven yere kyng Athelston Held this his kyngdome 

In Inglond that ys so mury, 

He dyedde and lythe at Malmesbury^. 
After hj-m regned his brother Edmond. And was kyng of Ingelond, 
And he ne regned here, But unneth nine yere, 

Sith hyt be falle at a feste At Caunterbury ^ a cas unwrest *, 

As the kyng at the mete fat He bchelde and under that 

Of a theef that was desg)-se 

Amonge hys knyghtes god and wise ; 

The kyng was hesty and sterte uppe 

And hent the thefe by the toppe^ 

And cast hym doune on a ston: 

The theefe brayde out a knyfe a non 
And the kyng to the hcrt threste, Or any of his knightes weste ' : 
The baronys sterte up anone, And slough the theefe swythe sone, 

But arst '' he wounded many one, 

Thrugh the fflesh and thragh the bone : 

To Glastenbury they bare the kynge, 

And ther made his buryingc^ 
After that Edmund was ded, Reyned his brother Edred; 

Edred reyned here But unnethe thre yere, &c. 

After h}Tn reyned sejTit Edgare, A wyse kynge and a warre : 
Thilke nyghte that he was bore, Seynt Dunstan was glad ther fore; 

Ffor horde that swete stcvene Of the angels of hcvene: 

In the songe thei songe bi lyme, ' Y blessed be that ylke tyme 
* That Edgare y bore y w^as, ' Ffor in hys tyme schal be pas, 

' Ever more in hys kyngdome'-*.' 

The while he liveth and seynt Dunston, 

Ther w^as so mcchc grcte foyson'.^. 

Of all good in every tonne; 

1 Three. 

- To which monastery he gave the fragment of the holy cross given him by the king of 
France. Rob. Glouc. p. 276. 

King Athelston lovcdc much Malmcsbury y wis. 
He jcf of the holy cross some, thot there Jut ys. 
It is e.vtraorclinrtr^-. tha- Peter Langtoft should not know where Athelstan was buried ; and as 
strange ih.-it i.' I'-ob. de IJrunne should supply this defect by mentioning a report 

that his body :d at Hexham in Northumberland. Chron. p. 32. 

S Rob. of t J . ihat this happened at Pucklechurch near IJristol. p. 277. But 

Rob. d:- IWuuw: .1 L.iiiurbury, whither the king went to hold the feast of S. Austin, p. 33. 

4 A wicked mi-cliance. 6 Head. 8 Perceived, ^ A rest. First. 

8 At Gloucester, says Rob. dc Crunne, p. 33. But Rob. of Gloucester says his body was 
brou;^ht from Pucklechurch, and interred at Glastonbury : and that hence the town of Puckle- 
church became part of the po.ssessions of Glastonbury abbey, p. 271. 

9 This song is ia Rob. Glouc. Chron. p. 2S1. io Provision. 


Al \vy\e that last his lyvc, Ne lored he never fyght ne stryve. 

* * * * 

The knyghtes of Wales, all and some 
Han to sweiy and othes holde. And trewe to be as y told, 

To bring trynge hym trewage i yeare, 

CCC wolves eche zere ; 
And so they dyde trewliche Three yere pleyneverlyche, 

The fertile yere myght they fyndenon. So clene thay wer all a gon. 

■Jr -if- * * " 

And the kyng hyt hem forgat For he nolde hem greve, 
Edgare was an holi man That oure lorde, &c. 

Although we have taken our leave of Robert de Brunne, yet as the 
subject is remarkable, and affords a striking portraiture of ancient 
manners, I am tempted to transcribe that chronicler's description of 
the presents received by king Athelstane from the king of France, es- 
pecially as it contains some new circumstances, and supplies the 
defects of our fragment. It is from his version of Peter Langtoft's 
chronicle abovementioned. 

At the feste of oure lady the Assumpcion, 

Went the king fro London to Abindon, 

Thider out of France, fro Charles kyng of fame, 

Com the of Boloyn, Adulphus was his name, 

And the duke of Burgoyn Edmonde sonne Reynere. 

The brouht kynge Athelston present withouten pere : 

Fro Charles kyng sanz faile thci brouht a gonfayno- un 

That saynt Morice in batayle before the legioun ; 

And scharp lance that thrilled Jhesu syde ; 

And a suerd of golde, in the hike did men hyde 

Tuo of tho nayles that war thorh Jhesu fete ; 

Tached^on the croys, the blode thei out lete ; 

And som of the thornes that don were on his heved, 

And a fair pece that of the croys leved * , 

That saynt Heleyn sonne at the batayle won 

Of the soudan of Askalone his name was Madan. 

Than blewe the trumpets full loud and full schille, 

The kyng com in to the halle that hardy was of willc : 

Than spak Reyner Edmunde sonne, for he was messengerc, 

' Athelstan, my lord the gretes, Charles that has no pere ; 

' He sends the this present, and sais, he wille hym bynde 

' To the thorh ^ Ilde thi sistere, and tille alle thi kynde.' 

Befor the messengers was the maiden brouht, 

Of body so gentill was non in crthe wrouht ; 

No non so faire of face, of spcch so lusty, 

Scho granted befor tham all to Charles hir body : 

And so did the kyng, and alle the baronage, 

Mikelle was the richesse thei purvcied in hir passage ". 

1 Ready. ^ Banner. 3 Tacked. Fastened. * Remained. 5 'Thee through." 
6 Chron. p. 29. 30. Afterwards follows the combat of Guy with ' a hogge [hugel gcant, 
hight Colibrant.' As in our fragment, p. 31. See Will. Malmes. Gest_. Angl. ii. 6. The 
lance of Charlem.agne is to this day shewn among the relics of St. Dennis's in France. Car- 
penter, Suapl. Gloft Lat. Du-cang. ioia. il p. 994. edit. 1766. 

' WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 69 

Another of these fragments, evidently of the same composition, seems 
to have been an introduction to the whole. It begins with the mar- 
tyrdom of saint Alban, and passes on to the introduction of Wassail, 
and to the names and division of England. 

And now he ys alia so hole y fonde, 
As whan he was y leyde on grounde. 
And gyf ge wille not ^ trow me, 
Goth to Wcstmynstere, and ye mow se. 
In that tyme Seynt Albon, 
For Goddys love ^ tholed martirdome, 
And xl. ycre with schame and ^ schonde 
Was * drowen oute of Englond. 
In that tyme ^ weteth welle, 
Cam ferst Wassayle and Drynkchayl 
In to this lond, with owte^ wene, 
Thurghc a maydc" br}'gh and^ schene. 
Schc was" cleput made Ynge. 
For hur many dothe rede and synge. 
Lordyngys^*^' gent and free. 
This lend hath y hadde namys thre. 
Forest hit ^-as cleput Albyon, 
And syth^^ for Brut Bretayne a non, 
And now Ynglond cleput hit ys, 
Astir mayde Ynge y wysse. 
ThiJke Ynge fro Saxone was come, 
And with here many a moder sonne. 
For gret hungure y understonde 
Ynge went oute of hure londe. 
And thorow ieue of oure kyng 
In this land sche hadde restyng. 
A'J meclie lande of the kyng schc^- bade, 
As with a hole hydc^-' me myglh sprcde. 
The kyngi^ graunt he bonne. 
A strong castel sche nude sone, 
And whan the castel was al made. 
The kyng to the mate sche^^ bade. 
The kyng graunted here a none. 
He wyst not what thay wold done. 

*• * * 

And sayde to'" ham in this manere 

* The kyng to morow schal ct : here. 

* He and alle hys men, 

' Ever^" one of us and one of them, 

* To geder schal sitte at the mete. 

* And when thay have al most ye cte, 

* I wole say wassayle to the kyng, 

1 Believe 2 SulTcred. 8 Confusion. < Driven, drawn. 5 Know ye. 

•Doubt. 7 Uright. 8 Fair. » Called. W Gentle. 

Ji From, because of. lii Requested, desired. 13 Men might. 1^ Granted her requst 

"Bid. WThcm, i7 Every. 


' And she hym with oute any^ leyng. 
And loke that ye in this manere Eche of gow she his -fere.' 
And so sche dede thenne, Slowe the kyng alle hys men» 

And thus, thorowgh here^ queyntyse, 

Tliis londe was wonne in this wyse. 
Syth* a non sone an^ swythe Was Englond" deled on fy\'e. 

To fiyve kynggj'-s trewelyche 

That were nobyl and swythe ryche. 

That one hadde alle the londe of Kente, 

That ys free and swythe gente. 
And in hys lond bysshopus tweye. Worthy men'' where theye. 

The archebysshop of Caunturbery, 

And of Rochestore that ys mery. 
The kyng of Essex of ^renon He hadde to his portion 

Westschire, Barkschire, Soussex, Southaniptshire. 

And ther to Dorsetshyre, All Cornewalle and Devenshire, 

All thys were of hys'' anpyre. The king hadde on his hond 

Five bysshopes starke and strong, Of Salusbury ^Vas that on. 

As to the Mirabilia Mimdi, mentioned in the statutes of New 
College at Oxford, in conjunction with these Poemata and Regnorum 
Chronica, the immigrations of the Arabians into Europe and the 
crusades produced numberless accounts, partly true and partly 
fabulous, of the wonders seen in the eastern countries ; which falling 
into the hands of the monks, grew into various treatises, under the 
title of Mirabilia Mundi. There were also some professed travellers 
into the East in the dark ages, who surprised the western world with 
their marvellous narratives, which could they have been contradicted 
would have been believed^". At the court of the grand Khan, persons 
of all nations and religions, if they discovered any distinguished 
degree of abilities, were kindly entertained and often preferred. 

In the Bodleian library we have a superb vellum MSS., decorated 
with ancient descriptive paintings and illuminations, entitled, Histoire 
de Graiait Kaan et dcs Merveilles du Monde". The same work is 
among the royal MSS.-'^ A Latin epistle, said to be translated from 

I Lye. 2 Companion. 3 Stratagem. 4 After. _ 5 Very. 
6 Divided. '' Were. 8 Renown. 9 Empire. 

10 The first European traveller who went far Eastward, is Benjamin a Jew of Tudela in 
Navarre. He penetrated from Constantinople through Alexandria in .Egypt and Persia to 
the frontiers of Tzin, now China. His travels end in 1173. He mentions the immense wealth 
of Constantinople ; and says that its port swarmed with ships from all countries. He exag- 
gerates in speaking of the prodigious number of Jews in that city. He is full of marvellous 
and romantic stories. William de Rubruquis, a moiik, was sent into Persic Tartary, and by 
the command of S. Louis Idng of France, about the year 1245. As was also Carpini, by Pope 
Innocent IV. Their books abound with improbabilities. Marco Polo a Venetian nobleman 
travelled eastward into Syria and Persia to the country constantly called in the dark ages 
Cathay, which proves to be the northern pai;t of China. This was about the year 1260. His 
book is entitled Dc Rcgiojiibiis Orieiitis. He mentions the immense and opulent city of Cam- 
balu, undoubtedly Pekin. Hakluyt cites a friar, named Oderick, who travelled to Cambalu 
in Cathay, and whose description of that city corresponded exactly with Pekin. Friar r>acon. 
about 12S0, from these travels formed his geography of this part of the globe, asma;^)e collected 
from what lie relates of the Tartars. Purchas Pilgr. iii. 52. And Op. Maj.^8. 235. 

II MSS. Codl. F. 10. fol. prasgrand. ad calc. Cod. The hand-writing is about the reign of 
Edward III. I am not sure whether it is not Mandeville's book. 

12 Brit. Mus. MSS. Bibl. Reg. 19. D. L 3. 


the Gre-ek by Corneliue Nepos, is an extremely common MSS., en- 
titled, Dc situ t't Mirabllibus Indico^. It is from Alexander tbe Great 
to his preceptor Aristotle : and the Greek original was most probably 
drawn from some of the fabulous authors of Alexander's story. 

There is a manuscript, containing La Chart re que Prestre ycJian 
maunda a Frcdcwik rEinpcre!ir DE Mervailles de sa Terre^. 
This was Frederick Barbarossa, emperor of Germany, or his successor; 
both of whom were celebrated for their many successful enterprises in 
the holy land, before the year 1230. Prester John, a christian, was 
emperor of India. I find another tract, De Mirabilibus Term 
Sancta^. A book of Sir John Mandeville, a famous traveller into the 
East about the year 1340, is under the title of Mirabilia Mundi. His 
Itinerary might indeed have the same title*. An English title in the 
Cotton library is, ' The Voiage and Travailes of Sir John Maundevile 
' knight, which treateth of the way to Hierusaleme and of the Mar- 
* veyles of Inde with other ilands and countryes.' In the Cotton 
library there is a piece with the title, Sanctoricni Loca, Mirabilia 
IVIUNDl, &c.^ Afterwards the wonders of other countries were added : 
and when this sort of reading began to grow fashionable, Gyraldus 
Cambrensis composed his book De Mirabilibus Hibernice^. There 
is also another Z>^ Mirabilibus ^;;^//^'. [Bibl. Bodl. MSS. C. 6.] At 
length the superstitious curiosity of the times was gratified with com- 
pilations under the comprehensive title of Mirabilia Hibernia:, 
Anglice, et Orientalist. But enough has been said of these infatua- 
tions. Yet the history of human credulity is a necessary speculation 

1 It was first printed a yacolo Catalanensi without date or place. Afterwards at Venice 
1493. The Epistle is inscribed : A Icxaiider Magiius A ristoteli prcccptori suo sahiteiii dicit. 
It was never extant in Greek. 

2 Ibid. MSS. Reg. 20. A. xii. 3. And in Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Bodl. E. 4. 3. 'Litera; Joannis 
'Presbiteri ad Frcdericum Imperatorem, S:c.' 

3 HSS. Reg. 14 C. xiiL 3. 

4 MSS. C. C. C. Cant. A. iv. 69. We find De Mirabilibus Mutidi Liber, HSS. Reg. ut 
supr. 13. E. ix. $. And again, De Mirabilibus Mundi et Viris illiistribus Tractaiits, 14, 
C. vi. 3. 

5 HLs book is supposed to have been interpolated by the monks. Leland obser\'es, that 
Asia and Africa were parts of the world at this time. 'Anglis de fola fere nominis umbra 
'cognitas.' Script. Br. p. 366. He wrote his Itinenary in French, English, and Latin. It 
extends to Cathay, or China, before mentioned. Leland says, that he gave to Beckett's shrine 
in Canterbury cathedral a glass globe enclosing an apple, «hich he jjrobably brought from the 
cast. Inland saw this curiosity, in which the apple remained fresh and undecayed. Ubi 
supr. Maundeville, on returning from his travels, gave to the high altar of S. Alban's abbey 
church a sort of Patera brought from TEgypt, now in the hands of an ingenious antiquary in 
London. He was a native of the town of S. Alban's and a physician. He says that he left 
many Mervavles unwritten ; and refers the curious reader to his Mappa Mundi, chap, 
cviii. cix. A history of the Tartars became popular in Europe about the year 1310, written or 
dictated by Aiton a king of Armenia, who having traversed the most remarkable countries of 
the east, turned monk at Cyprus, and published his travels ; wliich, on account of the rank of 
the author, and his amazing adventures, gained great esteem. 

Galb. A. XXL 3. 

7 It is printed among the Scriptores Hist Attgl. Francof. 1602. fol. 692. Written about the 
year 1200. It was so favorite a title that we have even Dc Mirabilibus Veteris et Novi 
Testamcnti. MSS. Coll. Na\. Naf Oxon. Cod. 12. f 190. a. 

8 As in MSS. Reg. 13 D. i. n. I must not forget that the Polybistor cX Julius Solinus ap- 
pears in many MS.S. under the title of Solinus de Mirabilibus Mundi. Tins was so favourita 
a book, .-IS to be into hexameters by some monk in the twelfth century, accor^fiig to 
Vos& UisU Lat'u. iiL p. 721. 


to those who trace the gradations of human knowledge. Let me add 
that a spirit of rational enquiry into the topographical state of foreign 
countries, the parent of commerce and of a thousand improvements, 
took its rise from these visions. 

I close this section with an elegy on the death of king Edward L, 
who died in the year 1307. 

I. — AUe that beoth of huert trewe'- 

A stounde herkneth to my songe^, 
Of duel that Dethe has dihte us newe, ^ 

That maketh me seke and sorewe amonge : 
Of a knyht that wes so stronge 

Of whom god hath done ys wille ; 
Llethuncheth^ that Deth has don us wronge 
That he^ so sone shall ligge stille. 
II. — Al England ahte^ forte knowe: 

Of whom that song ys that yfynge, 
Of Edward kynge that ys so bolde, 

Gent** al this world is nome con springe : 
Trewest mon of al thinge, 

Ant in werre ware and wise ; 
For hym we ahte our honden'' wrynge, 
Of cristendome he bare the pris. 
III. — Byfore that oure kynge was ded 

He speke as mon that was in care 
' Clcrkes, knyhts, barrons, he sod 
' Ycharge ou^ by oure sware^ 

* That ye he to Englonde trewe, 

' Y deze^" y ne may ly ven na more ; 

* Helpeth mi sone, ant crowneth him ne\ve, 

' For he is^^ nest to buen y-core. 
IV. — ' Iche biqueth myn hirte aryht, 

' That hit be write at mi devys, 
' Over the sea that Hue^^ be diht, 

' With fourscore knyghtes al of pris, 
' In werre that buen war aut wys, 

' Agein the hethene for te fythe, 

* To Wynne the croize that lowe lys, 

' Myself yscholde gef thet y myhte. 
v.— Kyngof Fraunce ! thou hevedest sunne^^, 

That thou the counsail woldest fonde, 
To latte^* the wille of kyng Edward, 

To wende to the holi londe ; 
Thet oure kynge hede take on hondc. 

All Engelond to'^ zemc and wysse'", 
To wenden in to the holy londe 

To wynnen us hevericheF blisse. 

1 ' Be of true heart.' 2 a little while. 3 Mclhinks. 4 The king. 

" Ought/or to. C Through. Sax Sent- ^'^»'- 7 Hands. . 8 You. 

»0«th. lODeJc. Deve, die. n 'Next, to be chosen.' i'- One ona- officcit 

13 Sin. 14 Lei, hinder. ^5 jeme, protect. i^ Govern. ^'f Every. 


VI. — The messagcr to the pope com 

And seyede that our kynge was dcde^, 
Ys- owne honde the lettre he nom'', 

Ywis his hcrte wes ful grot : 
The pope himself the lettre reddc, 

And spec a word of gret honour. 
'Alas! he seid, is Edward ded? 

* Of cristendome he ber the flour !' 

VII. — The pope is to chaumbre wende 

For dole ne mihte he speke na more ; 
Ant aftur cardinales he sende 

That much couthen of Cristes lore. 
Both the lasse* ant eke the more 

Bed hem both red ant synge : 
Gret deol me'^ myhte se thore", 

Many mon is honde wrynge. 

VIII. — The pope of Peyters stod at is masse 

With ful gret solempnete, 

Ther me con'^ the soule blisse : 

' Kyng Edward, honoured thou be : 

* God love thi sone come after the, 

' Bringe to ende that thou hast bygonne, 
' The holy crois ymade of tre 

' So fain thou woldest hit have ywonne. 
IX. — 'Jerusalem, thou hast ilore 

' The floure of al chivalrie, 
' Now kyng Edward liveth na more, 

' Alas, that he yet shulde deye ! 
' He wolde ha rered up ful heyge 

' Our bancrs that bucth broht to grounde: 

* Wei longe we may clcpe* and crie, 

' Er we such a kyng have yfoundc !* 

X. — Now is Edward of Carnarvan^, 

Kyng of Engelond al aplyht'"; 
God lete hem ner be worse man 

Then his fader ne lasse of myht, 
To holden is pore man to ryht 

And understende good counsail, 
All Englond for to wysse and dyht 

Of gode knightes darh^^ hym nout fail. 

1 He died in Scotland, Jul. 7. 1307. The chroniclers pretend, that the Pope knew of his 
death the next day by a vision or some miraculous information. So Robert of Brunnc, who 
recommends this tragical event to those who ' Singe and say in romance and ryme.' Chroni- 
cles p. 340. edit, ut supr. 

The pope the tothcr day wist it in the court of Rome 
The Pope on the morn bifor the clcrgi cam 
And told tham bifom, the floure of cristcndam 
Was ded and lay on bere, Edward of ln?eland. 
He said with hcvy chere, in spirit he it fond. 
He adds, that the Pope granted five years of pardon to those who would pray for Iiis soul. 
- li\ /lis. ^ Took. ■^ Less. "There. Men. 7 Began. 8 Call. •» 

" Edward II. bom in Carnarvon castle. l* Completely. H Thar, there 


XL — Thah mi tonge were mad of stel 

Ant min herte yzote of bras 
The godness myht y never telle 

That with kyng Edward was. 
Kyng as thou art clepcd conquerour 

In veil battaile thou lieedest prj's, 
Gode bringe thi soule to the honeur 

That ever was and ever ys^ 

That the pope should here pronounce the funeral panegyric of 
Edward I., is by no means surprising, if we consider the predominant 
ideas of the age. And in the true spirit of these ideas, the poet makes 
this illustrious monarch's achievements in the holy land, his principal 
and leading topic. But there is a particular circumstance alluded to 
in these stanzas, relating to the crusading character of Edward, 
together with its consequences, which needs explanation. Edward, in 
the decline of life, had vowed a second expedition to Jerusalem : but 
finding his end approach, in his last moments he devoted the pro- 
digious sum of thirty thousand pounds to provide one hundred and 
forty knights [The poet says 80], who should carry his heart into 
Palestine. But this appointment of the dying king was never exe- 
cuted. Our elegist, and the chroniclers, impute the crime of 
witholding so pious a legacy to the advice of the king of France, 
whose daughter Isabel was married to the succeeding king. But it 
is more probable to suppose, that Edward II., and his profligate 
minion Piers Gaveston, dissipated the money in their luxurious and 
expensive pleasures. 


We have seen, in the preceeding section, that the character of our 
poetical composition began to be changed about the reign of the first 
Edward : that either fictitious adventures were substituted by the 
minstrels in the place of historical or traditionary facts, or reality dis- 
guised by the misrepresentations of invention ; and that a taste for or- 
namental and even exotic expression gradually pi-evailed over the rude 
simplicity of the native English phraseology. This change, which 
with our language affected our poetiy, had been growing for some time; 
and among other causes was occasioned by the introduction and the 
increase of the tales of chivalry. . 

1 MSS. Harl. 2253. f. 73. In a Miscellany called the Muses Library, compiled, as I have 
hcen informed, by an ingenious lady of the name of Cooper, there is an elegy on the death of 
Henry I., 'wrote immediately after his death, the 'author unknown.' p. 4. Lond. Pr. for 
T. Davies, 1738. octavo. But this piece, which has great merit, could not have been written 
till some centuries afterwards. From the classical allusions and general colour of the phraseo- 
logj', to say nothing more, it with greater probability belongs to Henry VIII. It escaped me 
till just before this work, went to press, that Dr. Percy had printed this elegy. Ball. ii. 5. 


The ideas of chivalry, in an imperfect degree, had been of old esta- 
blished among the Gothic tribes. The fashion of challenging to single 
combat, the pride of seeking dangerous adventures, and the spirit of 
avenging and protecting the fair sex, seem to have been peculiar to the 
northern nations in the most uncultivated state of Europe. All these 
customs were afterwards encouraged and confirmed by corresponding 
circumstances in the feudal constitution. At length the crusades ex- 
cited a new spirit of enterprise, and introduced into the courts and 
ceremonies of European princes a higher degree of splendor and parade, 
caught from the riches and magnificence of eastern cities^. These 
oriental expeditions established a taste for hyperbolical description, and 
propagated an infinity of marvellous talcs, which men returning from 
distant countries easily iinposcd on credulous and ignorant minds. 
The unparalleled emulation with which the nations of Christendom 
universally embraced this holy cause, the pride with which emperors, 
kings, barons, earls, bishops, and knights strove to excel each other oa 
this interesting occasion, not only in prowess and heroism, but in sump- 
tuous equipages, gorgeous banners, armorial cognisances, splendid 
pavilions, and other expensive articles of a similar nature, diffused a 
love of war, and a fondness for military pomp. Hence their very di- 
versions became warlike, and the martial enthusiasm of the times ap- 
peared in tilts and tournaments. These practices and opinions 
co-operated with the kindred superstitions of dragons-, dwarfs, fairies, 
giants, and enchanters, which the traditions of the Gothic scalders had 
already planted ; and produced that extraordinary species of composi- 
tion which has been called ROMANCE. 

Before these expeditions into the east became fashionable, the 
principal and leading subjects of the old fablers were the achievements 
of king Arthur with his knights of the round table, and of Charle- 
magne with his twelve peers. But in the romances written after the 
holy war, a new set of champions, of conquests, and of countries, were 
introduced. Trcbizonde took place of Rouncevalles, and Godfrey of 
Bulloigne, Solyman, Nouraddin, the caliphs, the souldans, and the 
cities of ^gypt and Syria became the favourite topics. The trouba- 
dours of Provence, an idle and unsettled race of men, took up arms, 
and followed their bai-ons in prodigious multitudes to the conciuest of 
Jerusalem. They made a considerable part of thp household of the 

1 I cannot help transcriljinj here a curious passage from old Fauchctt. He is speaking of 
Louis the young, king of France, about the year 1150. ' Le quel fut le premier roy de sa 
' maison, qui monstra dehors scs richesses allant en Jerusalem. Aussi la France commcnca 
' de son temps a s'cmbcllir dc bastiniens plus magnifiques : prendre plaisir a perrieres, et 
' aulres delicatcsses goustus en Levant par luy, ou les seigneurs qui avoient ja fait ce voyage. 
' Dc forte qu'on pcut dire qu'il a cstc le premier tenant Cour de grand Roy : eslant si magni- 
' sique, que sa seramc dedaignant la simplicite de scs predccesscurs, luy sit clever une sepul- 
' ture d'argcnt, au lieu dc perrie.' RiiCUEiL dc la Lang, cs Poes. Fr. ch. viii. p. 76. edit. 
1581. Ke adds, thas a great number of French romances were composed about this period. 

" See Kirchcr's Mund. Subtcrran. viii. § 4. He mentions a knight of Rhodes made grand 
master of the order for killing a dragon, 1345. 


nobility of France. Louis the seventh, king of France, not only en- 
tertained them at his court very liberally, but commanded a consider- 
able quantity of them into his retinue, when he took ship for Palestine, 
that they might solace him with their songs, during the dangers and 
inconveniencies of so long a voyage. [Velley, Hist. Fr. sub. an. 1178.] 
The ancient chroniclers of France mention Legions de poeies as em- 
barking in this wonderful enterprise.'' Here a new and more copious 
scene of fabling was opened : in these expeditions they picked up 
numberless extravagant stories, and at their return enriched romance 
with an infinite variety of oriental scenes and fictions. Thus these 
later wonders, in some measure, supplanted the former : they had the 
recommendations of novelty, and gained still more attention, as they 
came from a greater distance.^ 

In the mean time we should recollect, that the' Saracens or Aiabians, 
the same people which were the object of the crusades, had acquired 
an establishment in Spain about the ninth centuiy : and that by means 
of this earlier intercourse, many of their fictions and fables, together 
with their literature, must have been known in Europe before the chris- 
tian armies invaded Asia. It is for this reason the elder Spanish ro- 
mances have professedly more Arabian allusions than any other. 
Cervantes makes the imagined writer of Don Quixote's history an 
Arabian. Yet exclusive of their domestic and more immediate connec- 
tion with this eastern people, the Spaniards from temper and constitu- 
tion were extravagantly fond of chivalrous exercises. Some critics 
have supposed, that Spain having learned the art or fashion of romance- 
writing, from their naturalised guests the Arabians, communicated it, 
at an early period, to the rest of Europe^. 

It has been imagined that the first romances were composed in 

1 Massieu, Hist. Poes. Fr. p. 105. Many of the troubadours, whose works nowe.xist, and 
whose names are recorded, accompanied their lords to the holy war. Some of the French 
nobility of the first rank were troubadours about the eleventh century : and the French critics 
with much triumph observe, that it_is the glory of the French poetry to number counts and 
dukes, that is soz'creigns, among'" its professors, from its commencement. What a glory ! 
The worshipful company of Merchant-taylors in London, if I recollect right, boast the names 
of many dukes, earls, and princes, enrolled in their com.munity. This is indeed an honour to 
that otherwi-se respectable society. But poets can derive no lustre from counts, and dukes, or 
even princes, who have been enrolled in their lists ; only in proportion as they have adorned 
the art by the excellence of their compositions. 

" The old French historian Mezeray goes so far as to derive the origin of the French poetry 
and romances from the crusades. Hist. p. 416. 417. 'Geoffrey of Vinesauf says, that when 
king Richard the first arrived at the Christian camp before Ptolemais, he was received with 
popitlares CaiUiones, which recited Atttiquoram Praclara Gesta. It. Hierosol. cap. ii. 
p. 332. idid. 

3 Huet in some measure adopts this opinion. But that learned man was a very incompetent 
judge of these matters. Under the common term Romance, he confounds romances of 
chilvalry, romances of gallantry, and all the fables of the Provencal poets. What can we 
think of a writer, who having touched upon the gothic romances, at whose fictions and bar- 
barisms he is much shocked, talks of the consuviviaie degree of art and elegance to -juhich the 
French are at j>rcsent arriz'ed hi roniatices ? He adds, that the superior refinement ?nd 
politcssc of the French gallantry has happily given them an advantage of shining in this 
species of composition. Hist. Rom. p. 138. But the sophistry and ignorance of Huet's 
Treatise has been already detected and exposed by a critic of another cast, in the SUPPLE- 
MENT TO Jakvis's Preface, prcfi.xed to the Translation of Don Quixote. 

W^RTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 77 

metre, and sung to the harp by the poets of Provence at festival so- 
lemnities : but an ingenious Frenchman, who has made deep researches 
into this sort of hteraturc, attempts to prove, that this mode of reciting 
romantic adventures was in high reputation among the natives of Nor- 
mandy, above a century before the troubadours of Provence, who are 
generally supposed to have led the way to the poets of Italy, Spain, and 
France, and that it commenced about the year ii 62 '. If the critic means to 
insinuate, that the French troubadours acquired their art of versifying 
from these Norman bards, this reasoning will favour the system of 
those, who contend that metrical romances lineally took their rise from 
the historical odes of the Scandinavian scalds : for the Normans were 
a branch of the Scandinavian stock. But Fauchett, at the same time 
that he allows the Normans to have been fond of chanting the praises 
of their heroes in verse, expressly^ pronounces that they borrowed this 
practice from the Franks or French. 

It is not my business, nor is it of much consequence, to discuss this 
obscure point, which properly belongs to the French antiquaries. I 
therefore proceed to observe, that our Richard I., who began his 
reign in the year 11 89, a distinguished hero of the crusades, a most 
magnificent patron of chivalry, and a Provencal poet^, invited to his 
court many minstrels- or troubadours from France, whom he loaded 
with honours and rewards'*. These poets imported into England a 

1 Mons. L' Eveque de la Ravalerie, in his Revolutions de Langue Francoise, a la suite dcs 
Poesies Du Roi DE Navarre. 

- ' Ce que les Normans avoyent pris des Francois.' Rec. liv. i. p. 70. edit. 1581. 

3 See Observations on Spencer, i. §. i. p. 28. 29. Walpole's Royal and Noble authors, i. 5. 
Rymer's Short View of Tragedy, ch. vii. p. 73. edit. 1693. Savarie de IMauleon, an Englisli 
gentleman who lived in the service of Saint Louis king of France, and one of the Provencal 
poets, said of Richard, 

Coblas a teira faire adroitement Pou vos oillex enten dompna gentlltz. 

' He could make stansas on the eyes of gentle ladies.' Rymer, ibid. p. 74. There is a 
curious story recorded by the French chroniclers, concerning Richard's skill in the minstrel 
art, which I will here relate. — Richard, in his return from the crusade, was taken prisoner 
about the year 1 193. A whole year elapsed before the English knew where their monarch 
v.xs imprisoned. ClondcU de Ncste, Richard's favourite minstrel, resolved to find out his 
lord ; and after travelling many days without success, at last came to a castle where Richard 
was detained in custody. Here he found that the castle belonged to the duke of Austria, and 
that a king was there imprisoned. Suspecting that the prisoner was his master, he found 
means to place himself directly before a window of the chamber where the king was kept ; and 
in this situation began to sing a French chanson, which Richard and Blondell had formerly 
written together. When the king heard the .song he knew it was Blondell who sung it ; and 
when Blondell paused after the first half of the song, the king began the other half and com- 
pleted it. On this, Blondell returned home to England, and acquainted Richard's barons with 
the place of his imprLsonment, from which he was soon afterwards released. Fauchett, Rec. 
p. 93. Richard lived long in Provence, where he acquired a taste for their poetry. The only 
relic of hLs sonnets is a small fragment in old French, accurately cited by Walpole, and written 
during his captivity ; in which he remonstrates to his men and baronsof England, Normandy, 
Poictiers, and Gascony, that they suffered him to remain so long a prisoner. Catal: Roy. and 
Nob. Auth; i. 5. Nostradamus's account of Richard is full of false facts and anachronisms. 
Poet. Provenc. artic; Richard. 

* 'De regno Francorum cantorcs ct joculatores muneribus allexcrat.' Rog Hoved. Ric: I, 
p. 540. These gratuities were chiefly arms, cloaths, horses, and sometimes money. ' On a 
review of this pa.ssagc in Hovedcn, it appears to have been William bishop of Ely, chancellor 
to king Richard the first, who thus invited minstrels from France, whom he loaded with 
favours .-ind presents to sing his in the streets. But it does not much alter the doc- 
trine of the text, whether he or the king was instrumental in importing the French minstrels 


great multitude of their tales and songs ; which before or about the 
reign of Edward II. became familiar and popular among our 
ancestors, who were sufficiently acquainted with the French language. 
The most early notice of a professed book of chivalry in England, as 
it should seem, appears under the reign of Henry the third; and is a 
curious and evident proof of the reputation and esteem in which this 
sort of composition was held at that period. In the revenue-roll of the 
twenty-first year of that king, there is an entry of the expense of silver 
clasps and studs for' the king's great book of romances. This was in 
the year 1237. But I will give the article in its origin a dress. ' Et in 

into England. This passage is in a letter of Hugh bishop of Coventr3% \v}i;ch see also in 
Heame's benedictus Abbas, vol. ii. p. 704. sub ann 1191. It appears from this letter, that he 
was totally ignorant of the English language, ibid p. 708. By his contemporary Gyraldus 
Cambrensis, he is represented as a monster of injustice, impiety, intemperance, and lust. 
Gyraldus has left these anecdotes of his character, which shew the scandalous grossness of the 
times. ' Scd taceo quod ruminare solet, nunc clamitat Anglia tola, qualiter puella, matris in- 
' dustria tarn coma quam cultu puerum professa, simulansque virum verbis et vultu, ad cubi- 
' culum bellua: istius est perducta. Sed statim ut exosi illius sevus est inventa, quanquani 
' in se pulcherrima, thalamique thorique deliciis valde idonea, repudiata tamen est et abjecta. 
' Unde et in crastino, matri filia, tam flagitiosi facinoris conscia, cum Petitionis effectu, 
' terrisque non modicis eandem jure ha;reditario contingentibus, virgo, ut venerat, est restitu- 
' ta. Tantae nimirum intemperantia;, et petulantise fuerat tam immoderatae, quod quotidie in 
* prandio circa finem, pretiosis tam potionibus quam cibariis ventre distento, virga aliquantu- 
' lum longa in capitc aculeum prjefercnte pueros nobiles ad mensam niinistrantes, eique prop- 
' tor multimodara qua fungebatur potestatem in omnibus ad nutum obsequentes, pungere 
' vicissim consueverit : ut eo indicio, quasi signo quodam secretiore, quem fortiu.s, inter aUos, 
■^ atque frequentius sic quasi ludicro pungebat, &c; &c.' De Vit. Galfrid. Archiepiscop. 
Ebor. Apud W'hart. Angl.' Sack. vol. ii. p. 406. But Wharton endeavours to prove, that 
the character of this great prelate and statesman in many particulars had been misrepresented 
through prejudice and en\-j^ Ibid. vol. i. p. 632. 

It seems the French minstrels, with whom the Song of Roland originafed, were famous 
about this period. Wuratori cites an old history of Bologna, under the year 128S, by which 
it .appears, that they swarmed in the streets of Italy. ' Ut Cantatores Fran'CIGexarum in 
' plateis comunis ad cantandum morari non possent.' On which words he observes, ' Colle 
' quali parole sembra verosimile, che sieno disegnati in catatore Ae\ /avole romaiiza, ches 
' spezialijicnte della Franzia erano portate in Italia.' Dissert. Antichit. Ital. tom. ii. c. 
x.xix. p. 16. In Napoli, 1752. He adds, that the minstrels were so numerous in France, as to 
become a pest to the community ; and that an edict was issued about the year 1200, to sup- 
press them in that kingdom. IMuratori, in further proof of this' point, quotes the above 
passage from Hoveden ; which, as I had done, he misapplies to our king Richard the first. 
But, in either sense, it cquallj' suits his argument. In the year 1334, at a feast on Easter 
Sunday, celebrated at Rimini, on occasion of some noble Italians receiving the honour of 
kni;;hthood, more than one thousand five hundred histriones are s.aid to have attended. 
' Triumphus quidcn maximus fuit ibidem, &c. — Fuit etiam multitude Histrionum circa 
' mille quingentos et ultra.' Annal. C^senat. tom. xiv. Rer. Italic. Scriptor. col. 1141. 
But their countries are not specified. In the year 1227, at a feast in the palace of the arch- 
bishop of Genoa, a sumptuous banquet and vestments without number were given to the min- 
strels, Qx jfocidaiores, then present, who came from Lombardy, Provence, Tuscany, and other 
countries. Caffari Ankal. Genuens. lib. vi. p. 449. D. Apud Tom. vi. ut supr. In the year 
774, when Charlemagne entered Italy and found his passage impeded, he w as met by a min- 
strel of Lombardy, whose song promised him success and victoiy. ' Contigit Joculatorem 
ex Loiigobardoruiit ^ente ' ad Cardura venire, ct Camtiuncul.'VM a se coJirosis.-\M, rotando 
'in conspectu suorum, caatare.' Tom. ii. p. 2. ut supr. Chkon. Monast. Noval. lib. iii. 
cap. X. p. 717. D. 

To recur to the origin of this Note. Ryraer, in his Short View of Tragedy, on the 
notion that Hoveden is here speaking of king Richard, has founded a theory, which is conse- 
quently false, and is otherwise but imaginarj'. See p. 66. 67. 69. 74. He supposes, that 
Richard, in consequence of his connection with Raimond count of Tholouse, encouraged the 
heresy of the Albigenses ; and that therefore the historian Hoveden, as an ecclesiastic, was 
interested in abusing Richard, and in insinuating, that his reputation for poetiy rested only on 
the venal praises of the French minstrels. The words quoted arc, indeed, written by a 
churchman, although not by Hoveden. But whatever invidious turn they bear, they belong, 
as ^\■c have st-en, to quite another person ; to a bishop who justly deserved such an indirect 
stroke of satire, for his criminal enormities, not for any vain pretensions to the character of a 
Provencal songster. 


* firmaculis hapsis ct clavis argcntcis ad magnum librum Roimancis 
regis.' [Rot. Pip. an. 21. Henr. III.] That this superb volume was 
in French, may be partly collected from the title which they gave it : 
and it is highly probable, that it contained the Romance of Richard 
I., on which I shall enlarge below. At least the victorious achieve- 
ments of that monarch were so famous in the reign of Henry III., 
as to be made the subject of a picture in the royal palace of Clarendon 
near Salisbury. A circumstance which likewise appears from the same 
ancient record under the year 1246. ' Et in camera regis subtus ca- 

* pcllam regis apud Clarendon lambruscanda, et muro ex transvcrso 

* illius camera; amovendo et hystoria Antiochice in eadem depingenda 

* cum DUELLO REGIS RlCARDi\' To these anecdotes we may add, 
that in the royal library at Paris there is, '■Lancelot du Lac mis en 
'^ Francois par Robc7't de Borron, du conimandemejit d'' Henri roi dc 
*■ Angletcrre avec figures"^^ And the same manuscript occurs twice 
again in that library in three volume^, and in four volumes of the 
largest folio. [See Montf. ibid.] Which of our Henrys it was who 
thus commanded the romance of Lancelot du Lac to be translated 
into French, is indeed uncertain : but most probably it was Henry the 
third just mentioned, as the translator Robert Borron is placed soon 
after the year 1200^. 

*[In Bennct college library at Cambridge, there is an English poem on 
the Sangreal, and its appendages, containing 40,000 verses. MSS. 
LXXX. chart. The MSS. is imperfect both at the beginning and at the 
end. The title at the head of the first page is Acta Arthuri Regis, 
written probably by Joceline, chaplain and secretary to archbishoiD 
Parker. The narrative, which appears to be on one continued subject. 
is divided into books, or sections, of unequal length. It is a translation 
made fi-om Robert Borron's French romance called Lancelot, above- 
mentioned, which includes the adventure of the Sangreal, by Henry 
Lonelich Skynner, a name which I never remember to have seen 
among those of the English poets. The diction is of the age of king 
Henry VI. Borel, in his Tresor de Recherches et Antiquitcz Gauloiscs 
et Francoises^ says, * II y'a un Roman ancien intitule LE Conqueste 

1 Rot. Pip. an. 36. Henr. III. Richard I. performed great feats at the siege of Antioch in 
the crusade. The Dnclnm was another of his exploits among the Saracens. Compare Wal- 
polc's Anecd. Paint, i. 10. Who mentions a certain great book borrowed for the queen, 
wriiten in French, containing Gesta Antiochi^e ct rcgtivt alioriiin, &c. I'liis was in the 
j-ear 1249. He adds, that there was a chamber in the old palace of Westminster, painted with 
this history, in the reign of Henry the third, and therefore called the Antioch Cha.mder : 
and another in the Tower. 

sCod. 6783. fol^max. See Montfauc.^ Catal. MSS. p. 785. a. 

: noble 


.■-■,. . ■ ■ -, - , ,, -= — ' - ..c...^,,.., par Lucas 

chcvahcr sicur de chateau du Gat.' Cod. 6956. scq. fol. max. In another article, this trans- 
lator the chcvahcr Lucas, of whom I can give no account, is called Hue or Hue. Cod. 6076. 
scq. Nor do I know of any castle, or place, of this name near Salisbury. Cod. 7174. 


'de Sangreall, &c.' Edit. 1655. 4to. V. Graal. It is difficult to 
determine with any precision which is Robert BoiTon's French 
Romance now under consideration, as so many have been written on 
the subject. The dihgence and accuracy of Mr. Nasmith have furnished 
me with the following transcript from Lonclich Skynner's translation 
in Bcnnct college libraiy. 

Thanne passeth forth this storye with al 
That is clepcd of som men Sevnt Graal 
Also the Sank Ryal inclepid it is 
Of mochel pcple with owten mvs 

-A- * ■* * '* * 

Now of al this storie have I mad an ende 

That is schwede of Celidoygne and now forthere to wend 

And of anothir brawnche most we be gynne 

Of the storye that we clepen prophet -Merlynne 

Wiche that Maister Robert of Borrown 

Owt of Latyn it transletted hoi and soun 

Onlich into the langage of Frawnce 

This storie he drowgh be adventure and chaunce 

And doth Merlynne insten with Sank Rval 

For the ton storie the tothir medlyth withal 

After the satting of the forseid Robert 

That somtym it transletted in Middilerd 

And I as an unkonncng man trewely 

Into Englich have drawen this storye 

And thowgh that to zow not plesyng it be 

Zit that ful excused ze wolde haven me 

Of my neclegence and unkonnenge 

On me to taken swich a thinge 

Into owre modris tonge for to endite 

The swettere to sowne to more and lyte 

And more cler to zoure undirstondyng 

Thanne owthir Frensh other Latyn to my supposing 

And therefore atte the ende of this storye 

A pater noster ze wolden for me preye 

For me that Kerry Lonelich hyhte 

And greteth owre lady ful of myhte 

Hartelich with an ave that ze hir bcde 

This proccsse the bettere I myhte procede 

And bringcn this book to a good ende 

Now thereto Jesu Crist grace me sende 

And than an ende there often myhte be 

Now good Lord graunt mc for charite 

* ' # * -;f 7,- * 

Thanne Merlyn to Blasye cam anon 
And there to hym he seide thus son 
Blasye thou schalt suffren gret peyne 
This stoiye to an ende to bringen ccrteyne 
And zit schall I suffren mochel more 
How so Merlyn quod Blasye there 


I schall be sowlit quod IMcrlyne tlio 

Owt from the west with mcssengcris mo 

And they tha.t scholen comen to sekcn me 

They have maad sewrawnce I telle the 

Mc forto slcn for any thing 

This sewrawnce hav they mad to her kyng 

But whanne they me sen and with me speke 

No power they schol hav on me to ben a wreke 

For with hem hens moste I gon 

And thou into othir partyes schalt wel son 

To hem that hav the holy vessel 

Which that is iclepcd the Sevnt Graal 

And wetc thow wel and ek forsothe 

That thow and ek this storj-e bothe 

Ful wel bcherd now schall it be 

And also beloved in many centre 

And has that will knowen in sertaygne 

What kynges that wcren in grete Bretaygne 

Sithan that Cristendom thedyn was browht 

They scholen hem synde has so that it sawht 

In the storye of Brwttes book 

There scholen ze it fynde and ze weten look 

Which that Martyn de Bewre translated here 

From Latyn into Romaunce in his manere 

But leve me now of Brwttes book 

And aftyr this storye now lete us look. 

After this latter extract, which is to be found nearly in the middle of 
the manuscript, the scene and personages of the poein are changed ; 
and king Enalach, king Mordrens, sir Nesciens, Joseph of Arimathea, 
and the other heroes of the former part, give place to king Arthur, 
king Brangors, king Loth, and the monarchs and champions of the 
British line. In a paragraph, very similar to the second of these 
extracts, the following note is written in the hand of the text, Henry 
Lonelich Skynncr, thai translated this bokc out of Frenshe into EiiglysJie, 
at the instajcnce of Harry Barton. 

The QUEST OF THE Sangreal, as it is called, in which devotion 
and necromancy arc equally concerned, makes a considerable part of 
king Arthur's romantic history, and was one grand object of the knights 
of the Round Table. He who achieved this hazardous adventure was 
to be placed there in the siege perillons^ or seat of dajiger. 'When 
* Merlyn had ordayned the rounde table, he said, by them that be 
' fellowcs of the rounde table the truthe of the Sangreal shall be 
' well knowne, (S:c. — They which heard Mcrlyn say soe, said thus to 
' Alerlyn, sithencc there shall be such a knight, thou shouldest ordayne 
' by thy craft a siege that no man should sitte therein, but he onlie 
' which shall passe all other knights. — Then Merlyn made the siege 
'pcrillous, &c.' Caxton's MORT d'Arthur, B. xiv. cap. ii. Sir 



Lancelot, iv/io is come hut of the eighth degree frotn our Lord yesus 
Chfist, is represented as the chief adventurer in this honourable 
expedition. Ibid. B. iii. c. 35. At a celebration of the feast of Pente- 
cost at Camelot by king Arthur, the Sangreal suddenly enters the hall, 
' but there was no man might see it nor who bare it,' and the knights, 
as by some invisible power, are instantly supplied with a feast of the 
choicest dishes. Ibid. c. 35. Originally Le Brut, Lancelot, 
Tristan, and the Saint Greal were separate histories ; but they 
were so connected and confounded before the year 1200, that the same 
title became applicable to all. The book of the Sangreal, a separate 
work, is referred to in Morte Arthur. ' Now after that the quest 
' of the Sancgreall was fulfylled, and that all the knyghtes that were 
' lefte alive were come agayne to the Rounde Table, as the booke of 
' THE Sancgreall makethe mencion, than was there grete joye in the 
' courte. And especiallie king Arthur and queue Guenever made grete 
'joye of the remnaunt that were come home. And passynge glad was 
' the kinge and quene of syr Launcelot and syr Bors, for they had been 
' passynge longe awaye in the quest of the Sancgreall. Then, as 
' the Frenshe booke sayeth, syr Lancelot, &c.' B. xviii. cap. I. And 
again, in the same romance. ' Whan syr Bors had tolde him [Arthur] 
' of the adventures of the Sancgreall, such as had befallen hym and 
' his felawes, — all this was made in grete bookes, and put in almeryes at 
' Salisbury.' B. xvii. cap. xxiii.^ The former part of this passage is 
almost literally translated from one in the French romance of 
Tristan, Bibl. Reg. MSS. 20 D. ii. fol. antep. ' Quant Boort ot conte 
' laventure del Saint Graal teles com eles esloient avenues, eles furent 
' mises en escrit, gardees en lamere de Salibieres, ddnt Mestre Galtier 
' Map Vcstrest afaist son livre du Saint Graal por lamor dtl ray Heiri 
' son sengor, qui fist lestoire tralatcr del Latin en romanz^.^ Whether 
Salisbury, or Salibieres is, in the two passages, the right reading, I 
cannot ascertain. But in the royal library at Paris there is ' Le Roman 
*de Tristan ET Iseult, traduit de Latin en Francois, par Lucas 
* chevalier du Gast pres de Sarisberi, Anglois, avec figures.' Mont- 
fauc. Catal. MSS. Cod. Reg. Paris. Cod. 6776. fol. max. And again 
Cod. 6956. fol. max. ' Liveres de Tristan mis en Francois par Lucas 
' chevalier sieur de chateau du Gat^.' Almeryes in the English, and 
FAmej-e, properly aumoire in the French, mean, I believe. Presses, 
Chests, or Archives. Ambry, in this sense, is not an uncommon old 
English word. From the second part of the first French quotation 
which I have distinguished by Ittilics, it appears, that Walter Mapes, 
a learned archdeacon in England, under the reign of king Henry III., 
wrote a French Sangreal, which he translated from Latin, by the 

1 The romance says, that king Arthur 'made grete clerkes com before him that they should 
'cioniclc the adventures of these goode knygtes.' 

- There is printed, ' Le Roman du noble et vaillant Chevalier Tristan fils du noble roy Me- 
' liadus de Leonnoys, par Luce, chevalier, seigneur du chasteau de Gast. Rouen, 1489. foL 


command of that monarch. Under the idea, that Walter Mapcs was 
a writer on this subject, and in the fabulous way, some critics may be 
induced to think, that the Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, from whom 
Geoffrey of Monmouth professes to have received the materials of his 
histor>', was this Walter Mapes, and not Walter Calcnius, who was 
also an eminent scholar, and an archdeacon of Oxford. Geoffrey says 
in his Dedication to Robert earl of Gloucester, ' Finding nothing said 
' in Bcdc or Gildas of king Arthur and his successours, although their 

* actions highly deserved to be recorded in writing,^nd are orally ccle- 

* brated by the British bards, I was much surprised at so strange an 
' omission. At length Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, a man of great 

* eloquence, and learned in foreign histories, oftered me an ancient 
' book in the British or Armorican tongue ; which, in one unbroken 

* stoiy, and an elegant diction, related the deeds of the British kings 
'from Brutus to Cadwallader. At his request, although unused to 
' rhetorical flourishes, and contented with the simplicity of my own 
' plain language, I undertook the translation of that book into Latin.' 
B. i. ch. i. See also B. xii. ch. xx. Some writers suppose, that 
Geoffrey pretended to have received his materials from archdeacon 
Walter, by way of authenticating his romantic history. These notices 
seem to disprove that suspicion. In the year 1488, a French romance 
was published, in two magnificent folio volumes, entitled HiSTORlE de 
Roy Artus ct des Chevaliers de la Table Ronde. The first 
volume was printed at Rouen, the second at Paris. It contains in 
four detached parts, the Birth and Achievements of king Arthur, the 
Life of Sir Lancelot, the Adventure of the Sangreal, and the Death of 
Arthur, and his Knights. In the body of the work, this romance more 
than once is said to be written by Walter Map or Mapes, and by the 
command of his master king Henry. For instance, torn. ii. at the c-nd 
of Partie du Saint Graal, Signat. d d i. ' Cy fine Maistre 

* Gualtier Map son traittie du Saint Graal.' Again, tom. ii. La 
Derniere Partie, ch. i. Signat. d d ii. 'Apres ce que Maistre 

* Gualtier j\Iap cut tractie des avanturcs du Saint Graal, assez 
' soufisamment, sicomme illuy sembloit, ilfut ad adviz au ROY Henry 

* SON SEIGNEUR, que cc quil avoit fait ne debuit soufrire sil nc racontoys 
' la fin de ceulx dont il fait mention. — Et commence JMaistre Gualtier 

* en telle manier cestc derniere partie.' T^xis derniere partie \xq.2Xs of 
the death of king Arthur and his knights. At the end of the second 
tome there is this colophon, ' Cy fine le dernier volume de La Table 
' Ronde, faisant mencion des fais et procsses de monscigncur Launcelot 
' du Lac ct dautres plusieurs nobles et vaillans hommes ses compagnons. 

* Compile et c.xtraict precisement et au juste des vrayes histores 

* faisantcs de ce mencion par tresnotable et tresexpert historien Majstre 

* Gualtier Map, ct imprime a Paris par Jehan du Pre. Et Ian du 
'grace, mil, cccc. iiiixx. et viii. le xvi jour du Set' 'embre.' The passage 

84 caxton's morte Arthur, and its extent. 

quoted above from the royal MSS. in the British Museum, where king 
Arthur orders the adventures of the Sangreal to be chronicled, is thus 
represented in this romance. ' Et quant Boort eui compte dcpuis le 
' commencement jusques a la fin les avantures du Saint Graal telles 
' comme ils les avoit veues, &c. Si fist le roy Artus redigcr et mcttre 
' par escript aus dictz clers tout ci que Boort avoit compte, &c.' Ibid, 
torn. ii. La Partie du Saint Graal, ch. ult^. At the end of the royal 
MSS. at Paris, [Cod. 6783.] entitled Lancelot DU l^kCmis eji F7-a7icois 
par Robert de Borronpar le commandeinent de Henri roi d'Angletcrre, 
it is said, that Messire Robert de Borron translated into French, not 
only Lancelot, but also the story of the Saint Graal li tout du 
Latin du Gautier Mappe. But the French antiquaries in this sort 
of literature are of opinion, that the word Latin, here signifies Italian; 
and that by this Latin of Gualtier Mapes, we are to understand 
English versions of those romances made from the Italian language. 
The French History of the Sangreal, printed at Paris in folio by 
Gallyot du Pre in 15 16, is said, in the title, to be translated from Latin 
into French rhymes, and from thence into French prose by Robert 
Borron. This romance was reprinted in 1523. 

Caxton's Morte Arthur, finished in the year 1469, professes to 
treat of various separate histories. But the matter of the whole is so 
much of the same sort, and the heroes and adventures of one story are 
so mutually and perpetually blended with those of another, that no real 
unity or distinction is preserved. It consists of twenty-one books. The 
first seven books treat of king Arthur. The eighth, ninth, and tenth, 
of sir Trystram. The eleventh and twelfth of sir Lancelot^. The 
thirteenth of the Saingral, which is also called sir Lancelot's Book. 
The fourteenth of sir Percival. The fifteenth, again, of sir Lancelot. 
The sixteenth of sir Gawaine. The seventeenth of sir Galahad. (But 
all the four last mentioned books are also called the historye of the holy 
Sancgreall.) The eighteenth and nineteenth of miscellaneous 
adventures. The two last of king Arthur and all the knights. Lwhyd 
mentions a Welsh Sangreal, which, he says, contains various fables 
of king Arthur and his knights, &c. Arch.-eolog. Brit. Tit. vii. p. 
265. col. 2. Morte Arthur is often literally translated from various 
and very ancient detached histories of the heroes of the round table, 
which I have examined ; and on the whole, it nearly resembles Walter 
Map's romance above-mentioned, printed at Rouen and Paris, both in 
matter and disposition. 

I take this opportunity of observing, that a very valuable vellem 
fragment of Le Brut, of which the writing is uncommonly beautiful 
and of high antiquity, containing part of the stoiy of Merhn and king 

1 Just before it is said, ' Le roy Artus fist vcnir les clep.cs qui les aventures aux chevalliers 
'rncitoient en escript.' As in Mort d'Akthur. 

- I5ut at the end, this twelfth book is called the second booke of Syr Trvstkam. And it is 
added, ' but here is no rehersall of the thyrd booke \of Sir Tristram.'] 


Vortigern, covers a MSS. of Chaucer's Astrolade, lately presented, 
together with several oriental MSS., to the Bodleian library, by Thomas 
Hedges, esq., of Alderton in Wiltshire : a gentleman possessed of many 
curious ]\ISS., and Greek and Roman coins, and most liberal in his 

And not only the pieces of the French minstrels, written in French, 
were circulated in England about this time ; but translations of these 
pieces were made into English, which containing much of the French 
idiom, together with a sort of poetical phraseology before unknown, 
produced various innovations in our style. These translations, it is 
probable, were enlarged with additions, or improved with alterations of 
the story. Hence it was that Robert de Brunne, as we have already 
seen, complained of strange and quaint English, of the changes made 
in the story of Sir Tristram, and of the liberties assumed by his 
contemporary minstrels in altering facts and coining new phrases. 
Yet these circumstances enriched our tongue, and extended the circle 
of our poetiy. And for what reason these fables were so much admired 
and encouraged, in preference to the languid poetical chronicles of 
Robert of Gloucester and Robert of Brunne, it is obvious to conjecture. 
The gallantries of chivalry were exhibited with new splendour, and the 
times were growing more refined. The Norman fashions were adopted 
even in Wales. In the year 1 176, a splendid carousal, after the manner 
of the Normans, was g'iven by a Welsh prince. This was Rhees ap 
Giyffyth king of South Wales, who at Christmas made a great feast in 
the castle of Cardigan, then called Aberteivi, which he ordered to be 
proclaimed throughout all Britain ; and. to ' which came many 
' strangers, who were honourably received and worthily entertained, so 
' that no man departed discontented. And among deeds of arms and 
' other shews, Rhees caused all the poets of Wales^ to come thither ; 

1 In illustration of the argument pursued in the text we may observe, that about this time 
the English minstrels flourished with new honours and rewards. At the magnificent marriage 
of the countess of Holland, daughter of Edward I. every king minstrel received xl. shillings. 
Anstis Ord. Gart. ii. p. 303. And Dugd. INIon. i. 355. In the same reign a multitude of min- 
strils attended the ceremony of knighting prince Edward on the feast of Pentecost. They 
entered the hall, while the king was sitting at dinner, surrounded with the new knights. Nic. 
Trivet. Annal. p. 342. edit Oxon. The whole number kn:.;!ited was 267. Dugd. Bar. i. 80. b. 
Robert de lininne says, this was the greatest royal feast sImcc king Arthur's at Carleon : con- 
cerning which he adds, ' therof yit men rime' p. 332. In the wardrobe-roll of the same prince, 
under the year 1306, we have this entry. 'Will. Fox et Cradoco socio suo cvn'tatokibl'S 
' cantantibus coram Principe et aliis magnatibus in comitiva sua existente apud London, &c. 
y.xs.' Again, ' VVillo Efox et Cradoco socio suo cantantibus in pr.xsentia principis et al. Mag- 
' natum apud London dedono ejusdem dui per manus Tohis de Ringwode, &c. 8, die Jan. x.\.f.' 
AftcrM-ards in the same roll, four shillings are given, ' Ministrallo comitissx Mareschal. facicn'.i 
' menestralciam suam coram principe, &c. in comitiva sua existent, apud Penreth.' Comp. 
Garderob. Edw. Princip. Wall. ann. 35 Edw. i. This I chiefly cite to shew the greatness of 
the gratuity. Minstrels were part of the establishment of the household of our nobility before 
the year 1307. Thomas earl of Lancaster allows at Christmas, cloth, or vestis liberata, to his 
household minstrels at a great expence, in the year 1314. Stowe's Surv. Lond. p. 134. edit. 
1618. See supr. p. 91. Soon afterwards the minstrels claimed such privileges that it was 
thought neces-sary to reform them by an edict, in 1315. Hcarne's Append. Lcland. Colleclan. 
vi. 36. Yet, as I have formerly remarked in Observations o.v Spenser's Faiekie Quekne, 
we find a person in the char.icter of a minstrel entering Westminster-hall on horseback while 
Edward II. was solemnizing the feast of PoUecost as above, and presenting a letter to the 
king. Wahing. Hist. Engl. Franc, p. 199. 


' and provided chairs for them to be set in his hall, where they should 
* dispute together to try their cunning and gift in their several faculties, 
' where great rewards r.nd rich giftes were appointed for t;he ovcr- 
' comers^' Tilts and tournaments, after a long disuse, were revived 
with superior lustre in the reign of Edward I. Roger earl of Mortimer, 
a magnificent baron of that reign, erected in his stately castle of 
Kenilworth a Round Table, at which he restored the rites of king 
Arthur. He entertained in this castle the constant retinue of loo 
knights, and as many ladies ; and invited thither adventurers in 
chivalry from every part of Christendom^. These fables were therefore 
an image of the manners, customs, mode of life, and favourite amuse- 
ments, which now prevailed, not only in France but in England, 
accompanied with all the decorations which fancy could invent, and 
recommended by the graces of romantic fiction. They complimented 
the ruling passion of the times, and cherished in a high degi'ee the 
fashionable sentiments of ideal honour, and fantastic fortitude. 

Among Richard's French minstrels, the names only of three are 
recorded. I have already mentioned Blondell de Nesle, Fouquet of 
Marseilles, and Anselme Fayditt, many of whose compositions still 
remain, were also among the poets patronised and entertained in 
England by Richard. They are both celebrated and sometimes 
imitated by Dante and Petrarch. Fayditt, a native of Avignon, united 
the professions of music and verse ; and the Provencals used to call 
^is poetry de bon mots e de boti son. Petrarch is supposed to have 
copied, in his Triumfo DI Amore, many strokes of high imagination, 
from a poem written by Fayditt on a similar subject ; particularly in 
his description of the Palace of Love. But Petrarch has not left 
Fayditt without his due panegyric : he says that Fayditt's tongue was 
shield, helmet, sword, and spear. [Triumf. Am. c. iv.] He is likewise 
in Dante's Paradise. Fayditt was extremely profuse and voluptuous. 
On the death of king Richard, he travelled on foot for near twenty 
years, seeking his fortune ; and during this long pilgrimage he married 
a nun of Aix in Provence, who was young and lively, and could ac- 
company her husband's tales and sonnets with her voice. Fouquet de 
Marseilles had a beautiful person, a ready ^\^t, and a talent for sing- 
ing : these popular accomplishments recommended him to the courts 
of king Richard, Raymond count of Tholouse, and Beral de Baulx ; 
where, as the French vrould say il fit Ics delices de coiir. He fell in 

' Powell's Wales, 237. edit. 1584. Who adds, that the bards of 'Northwales won the prize, 
'and amonge the musicians Rees's owne household men were counted best.' Rhees was one 
of the Welsh princes, who, the preceding j'car, attended the parliament at O.xford, and were 
magnificently entertained in the castle of that city by Henry the second. Lyttelton's Hist, 
Hen. II. edit. iii. p. 302. It may not be foreign to our present purpose to mention here, that 
Henry II. in the year 1179, was entertained by Welsh bards at Pembroke castle in Whales, in 
his passage into Ireland. Powell, ut .supr. p. 23S. The subject of their songs was the history 
of king Arthur. See Seldcn on Polyolb. i. iii. p. 53. 

2 Drayloa's Heroic. Epist. Mort. Isabel, v. 53. And Notes ibid, from Walsinghaia. 


love with Adelasia the wife of Beral, Avhom he celebrated in his songs. 
One of his poems is entitled, Las complanchas de Beral. On the 
death of all his lords, he received absolution for his sin of poetiy, 
turned monk, and at length was made archbishop of Thoulose^ But 
among the many French minstrels invited into England by Richard, it 
is natural to suppose, that some of them made their magnificent and 
heroic patron, a principal subject of their compositions^. And this 
subject, by means of the constant communication between both 
nations, probably became no less fashionable in France : especially if 
we take into the account the general popularity of Richard's character, 
his love of chivalry, his gallantry in the crusades, and the favours 
which he so liberally conferred on the minstrels of that country. We 
have a romance now remaining in English rhyme, which celebrates 
the achievements of this illustrious monarch. It is entitled Richard 
CUER DU LYON, and was probably translated from the French about 
the period above-mentioned. That it was, at least, translated from the 
French, appears from the Prologue. 

In Fraunce these rymes were wroht, 
Evciy Englyshe nc loiew it not. 

From which also wc may gather the popularity of his story in these 

King Richard is the beste^ That is found in any geste*. 
That this romance, either in French or English, existed before the 
year 1300, is evident from its being cited by Robert of Gloucester, in 
his relation of Richard's reign. 

In Romance of him imade me it may finde iwritc. [Chron. p. 487.] 

' Beauchamps, Rccherch. Theatr. Fr. Paris, 1735. p. 7. 9. It was Jeffrey, Richard's 
trother, who patronused Jeffrey Rudell, a famous troubadour of Provence, who is also cele- 
brated by Petrarch. This pcet had heard, from the adventurers in the crusades, the beauty of 
a countess of 'I'ripoly highly extolled. He became enamoured from imagination : embarked 
for Tripoly, fell sick in the voyage through the fc%cr of expectation, and was brought on shore 
at Tripoly half expiring. The countess, having received the news of the arrival of this galb.nt 
stranger, hastened to the shore and took liim by the hand. He opened liis eyes ; and at once 
overpowered by his disease and her kindness, had just time to say inarticulately, that having 
seen Iu:r lie died satisfied. The countess made him a most splendid funeral, and erected to his 
memory a tomb of porphyrj', inscribed with an epitaph in Arabian verse. She com..ianded his 
sonnets to be richly copied and illuminated with letters of gold ; was seized with a profound 
melancholy, and turned nun. I will endeavour to translate one of the sonnets which he made 
on his voyage. Yrai ct dolent men partray, &c. It has some pathos and sentiment, 'I 
'should depart pensive, but for this love of mine so far a-way; for I know not what difficulties 
*I have to encounter, my native land he^vt^ so far -aivay . Thou who hast made all thing.s, 
'and who formed this love of mine so far away, give me strength of body, and then I may 
'hope to see this love of mine so far away. Surely my love must be founded on true merit, 
'as I love one so far aivny ! If I am easy for a moment, yet I feel a thousand pains for her 
'who is so far away. No other love ever touched my heart than this for iicr so far away. A 
'fairer than she never touched any heart, either near, or far away.' Every fourth line ends 
with dii luench. Nostradamus, &c. 

2 Fayditt is said to have written a C/tantfimebre on his death. Beauchamps, ib. p. 10. 

3 This agrees with what Hovcden says, ubi supr. ' Dicebatur ubiquc quod non crat talis 
'in orbe.' 

* Impr. for W. C. 4tn. It contains Sign. A. x. — Q. iii. There is another edit. impr. W. de 
tVordc, 4to. 1328 There is a MSS. copy of it in Caius College at Cimbridgc, A 9. Among 
Crj'nes's books in the Bodleian librarj' is a copy of king Richard's romance, printed by W. de 
Worde in 1509. Cr. 734. 8vo. This edit, was in the Harleian library. 


This tale is also mentioned as a romance of some antiquity among 
other famous romances, in the prologue of a voluminous metrical 
translation of Guido de Colonna, attributed to Lidgate^ It is like- 
wise frequently quoted by Robert de Brunne, who wrote much about 
the same time with Robert of Gloucester. 

Whan Philip tille Acres cam litelle was his dede 

The Romance sais gret sham who so that pas^ will rede. ' 

The Romancer it sais Richard did make a pele^. — 

The RoiiANCE of Richard fais he wan the toun*. — 

He tellis in the Romance sen Acres wonnen was 

How God gafhim fair chance at thebataile of Caifas^. — 

Sithen at Japhet was slayn fanuelle his stede 

The Romans tellis gret pas of his douhty dede^. — 

Soudan so curteys never drank no wyne, 

The same the Romans sais that is of Richardyn'^ 

In prisoun was he bounden, as the Romance sais, 

In cheynes and lede wonden that hevy was of peis*. — 

I am not indeed quite certain, whether or no in some of these instances, 
Robert de Brunne may not mean his French original Peter Langtoft. 
But in the following lines he manifestly refers to our romance of 
Richard, between which and Langtoft's chronicle he expressly makes 
a distinction. And in the conclusion of the reign, 

I knowe no more to ryme of dedes of kyng Richard : 
Who so wille his dedes all the sothe se. 
The roj/tancc that men reden ther is propirte. 

1 Many speken of men that romaunces rede, &c. . 

Of Bevys, Gy, and Gawayne, Of kyng Rychard, and Owayiie, 

Of Tristram, and Percyvayle, Of Rowland Ris, and Aglavaule, 

Of Archeroun, and of Octavian, Of Charles, and of Cassibedlan, 

Of Keveloke, Home, and of Wade, In romances that of hem bi made 

That gestours dos of him gestes At mangeres and at great festes. 

Here dedis ben in remembraunce. In many fair romaunce. 

But of the worthiest wyght in wede, That ever bystrod any stede 

Spekes no man, ne in romaunce redes, Oiif his battayle ne of his dedes ; 

OflF that battaylle spekes no man. There all provves of knyghtes began, 

Thet was forsothe of the batayle Thet at Tkove v/as saunfayle. 

Of swytL a fyght as ther \\as one, &c. — 
Ffor ther were in thet on side, Sixti kynges and dukes of pride. — 

And there was the best bodi ic 'e That ever yit wered wede, 

Sithen the world was made so I That was Ector in echc werre, &c. 

Laud. K. 76. f. I. fol. MSS. Bibl. 1!;, '■ 'iod. membr. Whether this poem was written by 
Lidgate, I shall not enquire at present. shall only say here, that it is different from 
either of Lidgate's two poems on the Thei<-»n and Troj.'.n Wars ; and that the MSS., which 
is beautifully written, appears to be of the age of Henry the si.xth. By the way, it appears 
from this quotation, that there was an old romance called Wade. Wade's Bote is mentioned 
in Chaucer's Makch.\unts Tale, v. 940. p. 68. Urr. 

And eke these old wivis, god it wote, . They connin so much crafte in Wadis bote. 

Again, Troil. Cress, iii. 613. 

He songe, she plaide, he tolde a tale of Wade. 
Where, says the glossarist, ' A romantick story, famous at that time, of one Wade, who per- 
'formed many strange exploits, and met with many wonderful adventures in his Boa.1 Guig^rai.' 
Soeght says, that Wade's history was /ong- &ni\/ahilo7is. 

'2 Passus. Compare Percy's Ball. ii. 66. 398. edit. 1767. 3 p. 157. 4 Ibid, 

6 P. 17s. 6 p. 175. 7 P. 188. 8 P. 198. 


This that I have said it is Pers sawc^ 

Als he in romance- lad ther after gan I drawe^. 

It is not improbable that both these rhyming chroniclers cite from 
the English translation : if so, we may fairly suppose that this 
romance was translated in the reign of Edward I. or his predecessor 
Henry III. Perhaps earlier. This circumstance throws the French 
original to a still higher period. 

In the royal library at Paris, there is ' Histoire de Richard Roi 
d'Angleterre et de maquemore d'Irlandc en rime*' Richard is the last of 
our monarchs whose achievements were adorned with fiction and fable. 
If not a superstitious belief of the times, it was an hyperbolical invention 
started by the minstrels, which soon grew into a tradition, and is gravely 
recorded by the chroniclers, that Richard carried with him to the 
crusades king Arthur's celebrated sword Caliburn, and that he pre- 
sented it as a gift, or relic, of inestimable value to Tancred king of 
Sicily, in the year 1191^. Rob. of Brunne calls this sword z. jcwcP. 

And Richard at that time gaf him a faire juelle, 

The gude swerd Caliburne which Arthur luffed so well. [Chron. 

P- 1 53-] 

Indeed the Arabian writer of the life of the Sultan Saladin, mentions 
some exploits of Richard almost incredible. But, as Lord Lyttelton 
justly obser\^es, this historian is highly valuable on account of the 
knowledge he had of the facts which he relates. It is from this 
writer we learn, in the most authentic manner, the actions and nego- 
tiations of Richard in the course of the enterprise for the recovery of 
the holy land, and all the particulars of that memorable war. [History 
of Hen. II. vol. iv. p. 361. App.] 

But before I produce a specimen of Richard's English romance, I 
stand still to give some more extracts from its Prologues, which con- 
tain matter much to our present purpose : as they have very for- 
tunately preserved the subjects of many romances, perhaps metrical, 
then fashionable both in France and England. And on these 
therefore, and their origin, I shall take this opportunity of offering 
some remarks. 

Many romayns men make newe Of good knightes and of trewe : 
Of ther dedes men make romauns, Both in England and in Fraunce ; 

Of Rowland and of Olyvcre, And of everie Doscperc'^ 
Of Alysaundre and Charleniayne Of kyng Arthur and of Gawayne; 

1 'The words of my original Peter Langtoft.' " In French. 

•* P. 205. Du Cange recites an old French MSS. prose romance, entilled Histoire de hi 
Jilori de Ricliard Roy d'Angleterre. Gloss. Lat. Ind. Aixt. i. p. cxci. There was one, 
perhaps the same, among the MSS. of the late Mr. Martin of Palgrave in Suffolk. 

■* Num. 7532. 

5 In return for several vessels of gold and silver, horses, bales of silk, four great ships, and 
fifteen gallics, given by Tancred. Benedict. Abb. p. 642. edit. Hearne. 

* Jocale. In the general and true sense of the word. ■" Robert de Brunne, in another place, 
calls a rich pavilion ^jowellc. p. 152. 

1 Charlemague's Twelve Peers. Douze Pairs. Fr. 


How they wer knyghtes good and curtoys, 
Of Tiirpin and of Oger the Danois. Of Troye men rede in ryme 
Of Hector and of Achilles What folk they flewe in pres, &c^. 

And again in a second Prologue, after a pause has been made 
by the minstrel in the course of singing the poem. 

Herkene now how my tale gothe Though I swere to you no othe 
I wyll you rede romaynes none Neof- '■ Pcrtoimpe, ne of Ypomedo7i, 
Ne oi Alisatmde7', ne of Charleuiayne Ne oi A^'thtir, neof Gawaync, 
Ne of Lancelot dii Lake Ne of Bevls, ne of Giey of Sydi-ake^, 
Ne of £/;j, ne of Octavian, 'N c of Hector the strongman, 

Neof Jason, neither oi Achilles, Ne of Eneas, neither Hcjrules*. 

Here, among others, some of the most capital and favourite stories 
of romance are mentioned, Arthur, Charlemagne, the Siege of Troy 
with its appendages, and Alexander the Great : and there are four 
authors of high esteem in the dark ages, Geoffry of Monmouth, Turpin, 
Guido of Colonna, and Callisthenes, whose books were the grand re- 
positories of these subjects, and contained most of the traditionary 
fictions, whether of Arabian or classical origin, which constantly sup- 
plied materials to the writers of romance. I shall speak of these 
authors, with their subjects, distinctly. 

1 Fol. I. a. 2 Perhaps Parthenope, or Parshenopeus. 3 Read, ' ne of G7iy ne of Sydrnlie.' 
4 Signal. P. iii. To some of these romances the author of the MSS. Lives of the Saints, 
written about the j'ear 1200, and cited above at large, alludes in a sort of prologue. Sect. 
I. p. 14. 

Wei auht we long cristendom that is so dere y bougt. 

With our lorde's herte blode that she spare hath yc fougt. 

INIen wilnethe more j'here of batayle of kyngis. 

And of knj'gtis hardy, that mochel is le sjmgis. 

Of Roiiloitd and of Olyvere, and Gjiy of Wanvyk, 

Of IVawayen and T?-istra7it that ne foundde here y like, 

Who so loveth to here tales of suche thinge, 

Here he may y here thyng that nys no lesynge. 

Of postoles and marteres that hardi knygttes were 

And stedfast were in bataile and fledde nogt for no fere, &c. 

The anonjTnous author of an antient MSS. poem, called ' The boke of S tnn'es called CvRSOK 
'MuNDi,' translated from the French, seems to have been of the same opinion. His work 
consists of religious legeilds ; but in the prologue he takes occasion to mention manj' tales of 
another kind, which were more agreeable to the generality of readers. MSS. Laud, K. 53. 
f. 117. Bibl. Bodl. 

Men lykyn Jestis for to here And romans rede in divers manere 

0{ Alexandre the conquerour, Of Julius Cesar the emperour. 

Of Greece and Troy the strong stryf, Ther many a man lost his lyf : 

0{ Bnit that baron bold of hand The first conquerour of Englond, 

Of kyng Artonr that was so rjxhe, Was non in hys tyme so ilyche : 

Of wonders that among his knyghts felle. And aunty rs dedyn as men her telle. 

As Gazueyn and othir full abylle Which that kept the round tabyll. 

How kyng Cliarles and Ro-iulatid fawght With Sarazins, nold thci be cawght ; 

Of Toystati! and Vsoiide the swete, • How thei with love first gan mete. 

Of kyng yolm and oi Isenboas Of Ydoyne and Amadas. 

Stories of divers thynges Of princes, prelates, and kynges. 

Many songs of divers rj-me As English, French, and Latyne, &c. 

This ylke boke is translate 

Into English tong to rede For the love of English lede 

Ffor corayn folk of England, &c. 

Syldyn yt ys for any chaunce English tong preched is in Fraunce, 2iC 

Montf. Par. MSS. 7540. 


But I do not mean to repeat here what has been ah'eady observed, 
concerning the writings of Geoftry of iMonmouth and Turpin. It will 
be sufticiont to say at present, that these two fabulous historians re- 
corded the achievements of Charlemagne and of Arthur : and that 
Turpin's history was artfully forged under the name of that archbishop 
about the year i no, with a design of giving countenance to the cru- 
sades from the example of so high an authority as Charlemagne, 
whose pretended visit to the holy sepulchre is described in the 
twentieth chapter. 

As to the Siege of Troy, it appears that both Homer's poems were 
unknown, at least not understood in Europe, from the abolition of 
literature by the Goths in the fourth century, to the fourteenth. 
Geofifry of Monmouth indeed, who wrote about the year 1160, a man 
of learning for that age, produces Homer in attestation of a fact 
asserted in his history : but in such a manner, as shews that he knew 
little more than Homer's name, and was but imperfectly acquainted 
with Homer's subject. Geoffry says, that Brutus having ravaged the 
province of Aquitaine with fire and sword, came to a place where the 
city of Tours now stands, as Homer testifies. [L. i. ch. 14.] But the 
Trojan story was still kept alive in two Latin pieces, which passed 
under the names of Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis. Dares's 
history of the destruction of Troy, as it was called, pretended to have 
been translated from the Greek of Dares Phrygius into Latin prose by 
Cornelius Nepos, is a wretched performance, and forged under those 
specious names in the decline of Latin literature^. Dictys Cretensis 
is a prose Latin history of the Trojan war, in six books, paraphrased 
about the reign of Dioclesian or Constantine, by one Septimius, from 
some Grecian histoiy on the same subject, said to be discovered under 
a sepulchre by means of an earthquake in the city of Cnossus, about 
the time of Nero, and to have been composed by Dictys, a Cretan, 
and a soldier in the Trojan war. The fraud of discovering copies of 
books in this extraordinary manner, in order to infer from thence 
their high and indubitable antiquity, so frequently practised, betrays 
itself. But that the present Latin Dictys had a Greek original, now 
lost, appears from the numerous grecisms with which it abounds ; and 
from the literal correspondence of many passages with the Greek 
fragments of one Dictys cited by ancient authors. The Greek original 
was very probably forged under the name of Dictys, a traditionary 
writer on the subject, in the reign of Nero, who is said to have been 

1 In the Epistle prefixed, the pretended translator Nepos says, that he fcnnid this work at 
Athens, in the hand-wTiting of Dares. He add, speaking of the controverted authenticity of 
Homer, Dc ca re Atlu-nis ]\JT>\zwi.\ fuit , ciivt pro iiifaiio Iloiiierus habcrctiir quod docs citnt 
Jiominibics betligirassc descripsit. In which words he does not refer to any public decree of 
the Athenian judges, but to Plato's opinion in his Rkpuiji.ic. Dares, with Dictys Cretensis 
next mentioned in the text, was first printed at Milan in 1477. Mabillon says, that a MSS. of 
the Pseudo-Dares occurs in the Laurcntian library at Florence, upwards of Soo years old. 
Mus. Ital. i. p. 169. This work was abridged by Vinceslius Bcllovacensis, a friar of Bur- 
gundy, about the year 1244. SpccuL Histor. lib. lii. 63. 


fond of the Trojan story^. On the whole, the work appeal's to have 
been an arbitrary metaphrase of Homer, with many fabulous interpo- 
lations. At length Guido de Colonna, a native of Messina in Sicily, a 
learned civilian and no contemptible Italian poet, about the year 
1260, engrafting on Dares and Dictys many new romantic inven- 
tions, which the taste of his age dictated, and which the connection 
between Grecian and Gothic fiction easily admitted ; at the same time 
comprehending in his plan the Theban and Argonautic stories from 
Ovid, Statins, and' Valerius Flaccus^, compiled a grand prose romance 
in Latin, containing fifteen books, and entitled in most MSS. Histoj-ia 
dc bclla Trojano^. It was written at the request of Mattheo de Porta, 
archbishop of Salerno. Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis seem 
to have been in some measure superseded by this improved and com- 
prehensive history of the Grecian heroes : and from this period Achilles, 
Jason, and Hercules, wei'e adopted into romance, and celebrated in 
common with Lancelot, Rowland, Gawain, Oliver, and other Christian 
champions, whom they so nearly resembled in the extravagance of 
their adventures'*. This work abounds with oriental imageiy, of which 
the subject was extremely susceptible. It has also some traits of 
Arabian literature. The Trojan horse is a horse of brass ; and Her- 
cules is taught astronomy, and the seven liberal sciences. But I for- 
bear to enter at present into a more particular examination of this 
history, as it must often occasionally be cited hereaftei". I shall here 
only further observe in general, that this work is the chief source from 
which Chaucer derived his ideas about the Trojan story ; that it was 

1 Perizon. Differsat. de Diet. Cretens. sect. xxix. Constantinu.s, Lascaris, a learned mnnk 
of Constantinople, one of the restorers of Grecian literature in Europe near four hundred 
years ago, says that Dictys Cretensis in Greek was lost. The writer is not once mentsoned by 
Eustathius, who lived about the year 11 70, in his elaborate and extensive commentary on Homer. 

- The Argonautics of Valerius Flaccus are cited in Chaucer's Hypsijiile and JMcdca. ' Let 
him reade the book-Argonauticon.' v. go. But Guido is afterwards cited as a writer on that 
subject, ibid. 97. Valerius Flaccus is a common manuscript. 

3 It was first printed Argentorat, i486, and ibid. 1489. fol. The work was finished, as ap- . 
pears by a note at the end, in 1287. It was translated into Italian by Philip or Christophe." 
Cessio, a Florentine, and this translation was first printed at Venice in 14S1. 410. It has also 
been translated into German. Lambec ii. 948. The purity of our author's Italian style h;^ 
been m.uch commended. For his Italian poetry, see Mongitor, ubi supr. p. 167. Compare 
also Diar. Eruditor. Ital. xiii. 258. Montfaucon mentions, in the royal library at Paris, Le 
de 'riches qui sut racine de Troye le gratid. Catal. MSS. ii, p, 923 — iqS, 

4 Bale says, that Edward III, having met with our author in Sicily, in returning from Asia, 
invited him into England, .xiii. 36. This prince interested in the Trojan story, as we shall 
see below. Our historians relate, that he wintered in Sicily in the year 1270. Chron, Rob. 
Brun, p. 227. ' Preface to Kearne's Rob. of Gloucester, p. Ix. And Strype's Annals, ii. p. 
313. edit. 1725. Where Stowe is mentioned as an industrious collector of ancient chronicles. 
In the year 1568, among the proofs of Stowe's attachment to popery, it was reported to 
the privy council by archbishop Grindal, that 'he had a great sort of foolish fabulous books 
' of old print, as of sir Degory, sir Tryamour, &c. A great p.ircell also of old-writleu 
English chronicles, both in parchment and paper.' See Strype's Grindall. B. i. ch. xiii. 
pag. 125. And Append. Num. xvii.' A writer quoted by Hearne, supposed to be John Stowe 
the chronicler, says, that ' Guido de Columpna arriving in England at the cominatindetiicnt of 
hing Ediuard the /irsie, made scholies and annotations upon Dictys Cretensis and Daici 
Phrigius. Besides these, he writ at large the Battayle of Troy.' Hemming. Cartul. ii. 640. 
cjmong his works is recited Hisioria de Reuibus Rebitsque Anuiia:. It is quoted by many 
writers under the title of Chroniciim Britannonuit. He is said also to have writtcu 
ChronicUfti Magnum libris xxxvi. Mongitor. Bibl. Sic. i. 265. 


professedly paraphrased by Lydgatc, in the year 1420, into a prohx 
]-^nghsh poem, called the Bokc of Troyc^, at the command of Henry 
Y. ; that it became the ground-work of a new compilation in French, 
on the same subject, written by Raoul le Fcure chaplain to the duke 
of Burgundy, in the year 1464, and partly translated into English 
prose in the year 147 1, by Caxton, under the title of the Rccuycl of the 
histories of T?-oy. at thc^ request of Margaret duchess of Burgundy : 
and that from Caxton's book afterwards modernised, Shakespeare bor- 
rowed his drama of Troilus and Crcssidd'-. 

Proofs have been given in the two prologues just cited, of the 
general popularity of Alexander's story, another branch of Grecian 
histoiy famous in the dark ages. To these we may add the evidence 
of Chaucer. 

1 %Vho mentions it in a French as well as Latin 'romance.' In Lincolns-inn library there is 
a poem entitled Bellum Trojanum, Num. 150. Pr. 

Sichen god hade this worlde wroght. 
Edit. 1553. Signal. B. i. pag. 2. 

As in the latyn and the frenshe yt is. 
It occurs in French, MSS. Bibl. Reg. Brit. Mus. 16. F. i.\. This MSS. was probably written 
not long after the year 1300. 

" The western nations, in early times, have been fond" of deducing their origin from Troy. 
This tradition seems to be couched under Odin's original emigration from that part of Asia 
which is connected with Phrygia. Asgard, or Asians fortress, was the city from which Odin 
led his colony ; and by some it is called Troy. To this place also they supposed Odin to 
return after his death, where he ^\las to receive those who died in battle, in a hall roofed with 
glittering Shields. Bartholin. L. ii. cap. 8. p. 402. seq. This hall, says the Edda, is in the 
city of Asgard, which is called the i^iV/rfi^/" /(/«. Bartholin, ibid. In the very sublime ode 
on the Dissolution of the World, cited by Bartholine, it is said, that after the twilight of the 
gods should be ended, and the new world appear, the Asce shall meet in the field 0/ Ida, and 
tell of the destroyed habitations. Barthol. L. ii. cap. 14. p. 597. Compare Arngrim. Jon. 
Crj'mog. 1. i. c. 4. p. 45. 46. Edda, fab. 5. In the proem to Resenius's Edda, it is said, 
' Odin appointed twelve judges or princes, at Sigtune in Scandinavia, as at Troy ; and es- 
'tablished there all the laws of Troy, and the customs of the Trojans.' Hiclces. Thesaur. 
i. Dissertat. Epist. p. 39. Mallctt's Hist. Dannem. ii. p. 34. Bartholinus thinks, that the 
compiler of the Eddie mythology, who lived a.d. 1070, finding that the Britons and Francs 
drew their descent from Troy, was ambitious of assigning the same boasted origin to Odin. 
But this tradition appears to have been older than the Edda. And it is more probable, that 
the Britons and Francs borrowed it from the Scandina\'ian Goths, and ad.apted it to them- 
-selves ; unless v.e suppose that these nations, I mean the former, were branches of the Gothic 
stem, which gave them a sort of inherent right to the claim. This reasoning may perhaps 
account for the early existence and e.xtraoi'dinary popularity of the Trojan story among 
nations ignorant and illiterate, who could only have received it by tradition. Geoflfry of 
Monmouth took this descent of the Britons from Troy, from the Welsh or Armoric bards, and 
they pcrh.aps had it in common with the Scandinavian scalders. There is not a syllable of it 
in the authentic historians of England, who wrote before him : particularly antient ones, 
Bede, Gildas, and the uninterpolated Ncnnius. Henry of Huntingdon began his history 
from Casar; and it was only on further information that he added Brute. But this informa- 
tion was from a MSS. found by him in his way to Rome in the abbey of Bee in Normandy, 
probably GcofTry's original. //. Hunt, Epistol. ad IVarin. MS.S. Cantabr. Bibl. Publ. cod. 
251. I have mentioned in another place, that Witlas, a king of (he West Saxons, grants in his 
cliarter, dated a.d. 833, among other things, to Croyland-abbey, his robe of tissue, on which 
v.-.-iK embroidered The Destruction of Troy. Obs. on Spenser's Fairy Queen, i. sect. v. p. 176. 
This proves the story to have been in high veneration even long before that period : and it 
should at the same time be remembered, that the Saxons came from Scandinavia. 

Tliis fable of the descent of the Britons from the Trojans was solemnly allcdgcd as an 
authentic and undeniable proof in a controversy of great national importance, by Edward I. 
and his nobility, without the le.ast objection from the opposite party. It was in the famous 
dispute concerning the subjection of the crown of England to that of Scotland, about the 
vcar 1301. The allegations arc in a letter to pope Boniface, signed and sealed by the 
king and his lords. Vpodigm. Ncnstr. apud Camd. An^l. Norman, p. 492. Here is a curious 
instance of the implicit faith with which this tradition continued to be believed, even in 
a more enlightened age ; and an evidence that it was equally credited in Scotland. 


Alisaundres storie is so commune, 
That everie wight that hath discrecioune 
Hath herde somewhat or al of liis fortune^. 
And in the House of Fame ^ Alexadner is placed with Hercules^. I 
have already remarked, that he was celebrated in a Latin poem by 
Gualtier de Chatillon, in the 12 12^ Other proofs will occur in their 
proper places*. The truth is, Alexander was the most eminent knight 
errant of Grecian antiquity. He could not therfore be long without his 
romance. Callisthenes, an Olynthian, educated under Aristotle with 
Alexander, wrote an authentic life of Alexander^ This history, 
which is frequently referred to by ancient writers, has been long since 
lost. But a Greek life of this hero, under the adopted name of 
Callisthenes, at present exists, and is nouncommon manuscript in good 
libraries". It is entitled, Btoy AXe^ai/Spou rou MaKeSovoj Kai Tlpa^eis. 
That is, T/ie Life and Actions of Alexander the Macedoniaii^. 
This piece was written in Greek, being a translation from the Persi, 
by Simeon Seth, styled Magister, and protovestiary or wardrobe 
keeper of the palace of Antiochus at Constantinople^, about the year 
1070, under the emperor Michael Ducas.^ It was most probably very 

1 V. 656. p. 165. Urr. ed. _ 2 y. 323. 

3 In the reign of Henry I. the sheriff of Nottinghamshire is ordered to procure the queen's 
chamber at Nottingham to be painted with the History of Alexander. Madox. Hist. 
Exch. p. 249 — 259. 'Depingi facias historiam Alexandri undiquaque.' In the Romance 
of Richard, the minstrell says of an army assembled at a siege in the holy land, Sign. Q. iii. 

Covered is both mount and playne, Kyng Alys.\under and Charlemayne 

He never had halfe the route As in the city now aboute. 

By the way, this is much like a passage in Milton, Par. Reg. iii. 337. 

Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp. When Agrican, &c. 

4 Recherch. sur la Vie et les ouvrages de Callisthene. Par M. TAbbe Sevin. Mem. de Lit. 
viii. p. 126. 4to._ But many very ancient Greek writers had corrupted Alexander's history with 
fabulous narratives, such as Orthagoras, Onesicritus, &c. 

5 Particularly Bibl. Bodl. Oxon. MSS. Barocc. Cod. xvii. And Bibl. Reg. Paris. Cod. 2064. 
Montfauc. Catal. MSS. p. 733. Passages cited from this MSS., in Steph. Byzant. Abr. 
Berckel V. 'BouKi^a.Xiia. Caesar Bulenger de Circo, c. xiii. 30, &c. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. xiv. 
148. 149. 150. It is adduced by Du Cange, Glossar. Gr. ubi ^^d. Tom. ii. Catal. Scriptor. p. 24. 

6 Undoubtedly many smaller histories, now in our libraries, were formed from this greater work. 

7 UporoliiTTiu.pio;, Protovestiarhis. Du Cange, Constaritinop. Christ, lib. ii. § 16. n. 5. 
Et ad Zonar. p. 46. 

8 Allat. de Simeonibus. p. iSi. And Labb. Bibl. nov. MSS. p. 115. Simeon Seth translated 
many Persicand Arabic books into Greek. Allat. ubi supr. p. i S2. seq. Among them he translated 
from Arabic into Greek, about the year 1 100, for the use or at the request of the emperor 
Alexius Commenus, the celebrated Indian Fables now commonly called the Fables of Pilpay. 
Tliis work he entitled 2TSipaiiiT-/j; I;);;v»XaT>jj^ and divided it into fifteen books. It 
was printed in Berlin, by Seb. Godfr. Starchius, a.d. 1697. Svo. Under the title, 'S.vfi.iuv 
"HiayiffT^ov x.01.1 (fi\oiTo(pov tov IviS Kt/X/A.£ xui Aifivr These are the names of 
two African or Asiatic animals called in Latin Thacs, a sort of fox, the principal interlocutors 
in the fables. Sect. i. ii. This curious monument of a species of instruction peculiar to the 
orientals, is upwards of 2000 years old. It has passed under a great variety of names. Khofru 
a king of Persia, in whose reign Mahomet was born, sent his physician named Burzvisch into 
India, on purpose to obtain this book, which was carefully preserved among the treasures of 
the kings of India : and commanded it to be translated out of the Indian language into the 
ancient Persic. Herbelot. Diet. Oriental, p. 456. It was soon aftenvards turned into Syriac, 
under the title Calaileg 'Ami. Dain»tag. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. vi. p. 461. About a.d. 750, one of 
the caliphs ordered it to be translated from the ancient Persic into Arabic, under the name 
Kalila i!c Damna. Hcrbel. ubi supr. In the year 920, the Sultan Ahmed, of the dynasty of 
the Samanides, procured a translation into more modem Per.^ic : which was soon afterwards 
put into verse by a celebrated Persian poet named Roudeki. Herbel. ibid. Fabric, ibid. p. 46;^ 
About the year 1130, the Sultan Bahram, not satisfied with this Persian version, ordered 
another to be executed by Nasrallah, the mo?t '>',oquent man of his age, fro.r; the Arabir tpxt 


socn afterwards translated from the Greek into Latin, and at length 
from thence into French, Italian, and German^. The Latin transla- 
tion was printed Colon. Argentorat. A.D. 1498-. Perhaps before. 
For among Hearne's books in the Bodleian library, there is an edition 
in quarto, without date, supposed to have been printed at Oxford by- 
Frederick Corsellis, about the 146S. It is said to have been made by 

if Mocanna : and this Persian version is what is now extant, under the title Kalua ve Davina. 
Hcrbel. ibid. Also Herbel. p. 118. But as even this last-mentioned version has too many- 
Arabic idioms, and obsolete phrases, in the reign of Sultan Hosein Mirza, it was thrown into 
a more modern and intelligible style, under the name of y^««ar.S'<7/i«'/«. Eraser's Hist. Nad. 
Shaw. Catal. MSS. p. 19. 20. Nor must it be forgotten, that about the year iioo, the Emir 
Sohail, general of the armies of Hussain, Sultan of Khorassan, of the posterity of Timeur, 
caused a new translation to be made by the doctor Hussien Vaez, which exceeded all others, 
inelegance and perspicuity. It was named Anivair Sohaili, Splendor Canopi, from the 
Emir who was called after the name of that star. Heibel. p. 118. 243. It would be tedious 
to mention every new title and improvement which it has passed through among the eastern 
people. It has been translated into the Turkish language both In prose and verse : particularly 
for the use of Bajazet the second and Solyman the second. Herbel. p. 118. It has been also 
translated into Hebrew, by Rabbi Joel : and into Latin, under the title Directorhtjn vit(Z 
humance, by Johannes of Capua, [fol. fine ann.] From thence it got into Spanish, or Castilian : 
and from the Spanish was made an Italian version, printed at Ferrara, A.D. 1583. oct. viz. 
Lelo Davino [for Caliah 11 Datiinah] del Governo de regni, sotto viorali, &c. A second 
edit, appeared at Ferrara in 1610. oct. viz. Philosophia morale del doni, &c. But I have a 
notion there was an Italian edition at Venice under the last-mentioned title, with old rude 
cuts, 1553. 4to. From the Latin version it was translated into German, by the command of 
Eberhard, first duke of Wirtenberg: and this translation was printed at Ulm, 1583. fol. At 
Strasburgh, 1535. fol. Without name of place, 1548. 4to. At Francfourt on the Mayne, 1565. 
oct. A French translation by Gilb. Gaulmin from the Persic of Nasrallah above-mentioned 
appeared at Paris, 1C98. But this is rather a paraphrase, and was reprinted in Holland. 
Starchius. ubi supr. prxf §. ig. 20. 22. Fabric, ubi supr. p. 463. seq. Another translation 
was printed at Paris, viz. ' Contes et Fables Indiennes de Bidpai et De Lokman traduits d'Ali 
'Tchelchi-Bengalek autcur Turc, par INI. Galland, 1714,' ii vol. Again, Paris, 1724. ii vol. 
Fabricius says, that IMons. Galland had procured a Turkish copy of this book four times 
larger than the printed copies, being a version from the original Persic, and entitled Hiona- 
goiinNamcli, that is, Tlie royal or hiipeial book, so called by the orientals, who are of opinion 
that it contains the whole art of government. Fabric, ubi supr. p. 465. Herbel. p. 456. A 
Translation into English from the French of the four first books was printed at London in 
1747, under the title of Pilpay's Fables. — as to the name of the author of this book, 
Herbelot says that Bidpai was an Indian philosopher, and that his name signifies the inerc!f7tl 
jtliysician. Herbelot. p. 206. 456. And Bibl. Lugdun, Catal. p. 301. Others relate, that it 
was composed by the Bramins of India, under the title Kiirtuk Duvinik. Eraser, ubi supr. 
p. 19. It is also said to have been written by Isame fifth king of the Indians, and translated 
into Arabic from the Indian tongue 300 years before Alexander the Macedonian. Abraham 
Ecchelens. Not. and Catal. Ebed Jcsu, p. 87. — The Indians reckon this book among the 
three things in which they surpass all other nations, viz. ' Liber Ct;LiLA et Duima, ludus 
' Shatangn, et novem figurae numerariae.' Saphad. Comment, ad Carm. Tograi. apud Hyde, 
prolcgom. ad lib. de lud. Oriental, d. 3. Hyde intended an edition of the Arabic ver.sion. 
Praesat. aA. lib. de lud. Oriental, vol. ii. 1767. edit, ad calc. I cannot forsake this subject 
without remarking, that the Persians have another book, which they esteem older than any 
writings of Zoroaftcr, entitled Javidan Chrad, that is, (eterna Sapientia. Hyde Pr^sfat. 
Rclig. Vet. Persarum. This has been also one of the titles of Pilpay's Fables. Wolfii Bibl. 
Hebr. i. 468. ii. 931. iii. 350. iv. 934. 

1 Causab. EpLst. ad Jos. Scahger, 402. 413. Scalig. Epist. ad Casaubon. 113 115. Who 
mentions also a translation of this work from the Latin into Hebrew, by one who adopted the 
name of Jos. Gorionides, called Pseudo-Gorionidcs. This Latin history was translated into 
German by John Hartlieb Moller, a German physician, at the command of Albert duke of 
Bavaria, and published August. Vindel. a.d. 1478. fol. Lambec. lib. ii. de Bibl. Vindobon. p. 
949. Labbe mentions a fabalous history of Alexander ; written, as he says, in 1217, and 
transcribed in 1453. Undoubtedly this in the text. Londinensis quotes ' pervetustum quendam 
'librum manuscriptum de actibus Alexandri.' Hearne's T. Caius, ut infr. p. 82. 86. 25S. 

'- Lenglet mentions ' Historia fabulosa inccrti authoris de Alexandri Magni pr.x-liis. fol. 1494. 
He adds, that it is printed in the last edition of Caisar's Commentaries by Grxvius in oct. 
Bibl. des Romans, ii. p. 228. 229. edit. Amst. C,am^?i.x(tVo'XC%Cntaloe:uslihroniiii rarior,\t3.^. 
24. edit. 1753. Montfaucon says this histoi-y of Callisthcnes occurs often in the royal library at 
Paris, both in Greek and L.itin : but that he never saw either of them printed. Cat. MSS. ii. 
pa?- 733- — 2543. I think a life of Alexander is subjoined to an edition of Quintus Curtius in 
•584, by Joaimcs Monachu« 


one iEsopus, or by Julius Valerius^ : supposititious names, which 
seem to have been forged by the artifice, or introduced through the 
ignorance of scribes and librarians. The Latin translation, however, 
is of high antiquity. in the middle age of learning : for it is quoted by 
Gereldus Cambrenis, who flourished about the year 1190.^ About 
the year 1236, the substance of it was thrown into a long Latin poem, 
writtenin elegiac verse^, by Aretinus Quilichinus'*. This fabulous narrative 
of Alexander's life and achievements, is full of prodigies and extravagan- 
cies^. But we should remember its origin. The Arabian books 
p.bound with the most incredible fictions and traditions concerning 
Alexander the Great, which they probably borrowed and improved 
from the Persians. They call him Escander. If I recollect right, one 
of the miracles of this romance is our hero's horn. It is said, that 
Alexander gave the signal to his whole army by a wonderful horn of 
immense magnitude, which might be heard at the distance of sixty 
miles, and that it was blown or sounded by sixty men at oncc^. 
This is the horn Orlando won from the giant Jatmud, and which, 
as Turpin and Islandic bards report, was endued with magical 
pov/ers, and might be heard at the distance of twenty miles. Cer- 
vantes says, that it was bigger than a massy beam''. Boyardo 
Berni, and Ariosto have all such a horn ; and the fiction is here traced 
to its original source. But in speaking of the books which furnished 
the story of Alexander, I must not forget that Ouintus Curtius was an 
admired historian of the romantic ages. He is quoted in the 

1 Du Cange Glossar. Gr. v. E/SjXX/kjj . Jurat, ad Symmachus, Iv. 33. Barth. Adversar. ii. 
10. V. 14. 

2 Hearne, T. Caii Vindic. Antiquit. Acad. Oxon. torn. ii. Not. p. 802. Who thinks it a 
work of the monks. ' Nee dubium quin monachus quispiam Latine, utpotuit, scripserit. Eo 
' modo, quo et aliosidgenusfoetusparturiebantscriptoresaHquot monastic!, e fabulis quas vulgo 
' admodum placere sciebant.' ibid. 

•' A Greek poem on this subject will be mentioned below, written in politic verses, entitled 

4 Labb. Bibl. Nov. MSS. p. 68. Ol. Borrich. Dissertat. de Poet. p. 8g. 

5 The writer relates, that Alexander, inclosed in a vessel of glass, dived to the bottom of 
the ocean for the sake of getting a knowledge of fishes and sea-monsters. He is also repre- 
sented as soaring in the air by the help of gryphons. A.t the end, the opinions of different 
philosophers are recited concerning the sepulchre of Alexander. Nectabanos, a magician and 
astrologer, king of ./Egj'pt, is a very significant character in this romance. He transforms 
himself into a dragon, &c. Compare Herbelot. Bibl. Oriental, p. 309. b. seq. In some of 
the MSS. of this piece which I have seen, there is an account of Alexander's visit to the trees 
of the sun and moon : but I do not recollect this in the printed copies. Undoubtedly the 
original has had both interpolations and omissions. Pseudo-Gorionides above-mentioned, 
seems to hint at the ground-work of this history of Alex.ander in the following passage. 

' Ca;tcras autem res ab Alexandro gestas, et egregia ejus facinora ac qua;cunque demun per- 
"petravit, ea in libris Medorum et Persarum, atque apud Nicolaum, Titum, et Strabonem ; et 
' in libris Medorum et Persarum, atque apud Nicolaum, Titum, et Strabonem ; et in libris na- 
' tivitatis Alexandri, rerumque ab ipso gestarum, quos Magi acEgj^ptiieo anno quo Alexander 
' deccssit, composucrunt, scripta reperies.' Lib. ii. c. 12. — 22. [Lat. 152. edit. Jo. 
Frid. Briethaupt. 

6 It is also in a MSS. entitled Secretum Sccretormii Aristotelis, Lib. 5. INISS, Bodl. D. i. 5. 
This treatise, ascribed to Aristotle, was anciently in high repute. It is pretended to have 
been translated out of Greek into Arabic or Chaldee by one John a Spaniard ; from thence 
into Latin by Philip a Frenchman ; at length into English verse by Lidgate : under whom 
3101c wi'l be said of it. I think the Latin is dedicated to Theophina, a queen of Spain. 

7 Ob?ivvat. Fairie Queen i. §. v. p. zee. ; 


POLICRATION of John of Salisbury, who died in the year Il8r. 
[viii. 18.] Eneas Sylvius relates, that Alphonsus IX. king of Spain, 
in the thirteenth century, a great astonomer, endeavoured to 
relieve himself from a tedious malady by reading the bible over fourteen 
times, with all the glosses ; but not meeting with the expected successs, 
he was cured by the consolation he recei\-cd from once reading 
Ouintus Curtius. [Op. p. 476.] Peter Blescnsis, archdeacon of 
London, a student at Paris about the year 1 1 50, mentioning the books 
most common in the schools, declares that he profited imtch by 
frequently looking into this aittlwr'^. Vincentius Bellovacensis, cited 
above, a writer of the thirteenth century, often quotes Curtius in his 
Speculum Hist07'ale^. He was also early translated into French. 
Among the royal manuscripts in the British Museum, there is a fine 
copy of a French translation of this classic, adorned with elegant old 
paintings and illuminations, entitled, Quinte Curse Rnf, dcs faiz 
d'' Alexandre, ix. liv. translate par Vasque de Lncenc Portugalois. 
Escript par la main de Jehan du Chesne, a Lille^. It was made 
in 14G8. But I believe the Latin translations of Simeon Seth's 
romance on this subject, were the best known and most esteemed 
for some centuries. 

The French, to resume the main tenour of our argument, had 
wTitten metrical romances on most of these subjects, before or about 
the year 1200. Some of these seem to have been formed from prose 
histories, enlarged and improved v/ith new adventures and embellish- 
ments from earlier and more simple tales in verse on the same subject. 
Chrestien of Troys wrote Le Romans du Graal or the adventures of 
the Sangrale, which included the deeds of king Arthur, Sir Tristram, 
Lancelot du Lake, and the rest of the knights of the round table, 
before 1191. There is a passage in a coeval romance, relating to 
Chrestien, which proves what I have just advanced, that some of 
these histories previously existed in prose. 

Christians qui entent et paine A rimoycr Ic mcillor conte. 

Par le commandement Ic Conte, Qu'il soit contez in cort royal 
Ce est li contes del Graal Do li quens li bailla le livre.* 

1 EpLst. loi. Frequenter insiicere hisiorias Sp' Curtii, &c. 

- iv. 61. &c. Monlfaucon, I think, mentions a MSS. of Q. Curtius in the Colbcrtine library 
at Paris, 800 years old. See Karth. ad Claudian. p. 1165. Alexander Benedictus, in his 
historj' of Venice, transcribes whole pages from this historian. I could give other proofs. 

^ 17 F. i. Brit. Mus. And again, 20 C. iii. And 15 D. iv. 

4 Appud Fauchett, Rec. p. 99. Who adds, Je croy bien que Romans que nous avons ajourd- 
• buy imprinicz, tcls que Lancelot du Lac. Tristan, ct autrcs, sont refondus sus les viellcs 
' proses et rj'mcs et puis refraichis de language.' Kec. liv. ii. x. The oldest MSS. of roman- 
ces en these subjects which I have seen are the following. They are in the royal MSS. of the 
British Museum. Le Romaiiz de Trisiran, 20 D. ii. This was probably transcribed not 
long after the year 1200. — Ilistoire du Lancelotoii S. Graal, ibid. ill. Perhaps older than the 
year 1,200. — Again, Ilistoire du S. Graal, ou Lancelot, 20 C. vi. i. Transcribed soon after 
1200. This is imperfect at the beginning. The subject of Joseph of Arimathea bringing a 
vessel of the Sanguis realis, or .Sangral, that is our Saviour's blood, into England, is of high 
antiquity. It is thus mentioned in Morte Arthur. 'And then the old man had an harpe, and 
' he sung an oliie Songe how Joseph of Arimathy came into this landc' B. iii. c. 5. 


Chrestien also wrote the romance of Sir Percival, which belongs to 
the same histoiy^. Godfrey de Leigni, a contemporary, finished a 
romance begun by Chrestien, entitled La Chartete, containing the 
adventures of Launcelot. Fauchet affirms, that Chrestien abounds 
with beautiful inventions. [P. 105, ibid.] But no story is so common 
among the earliest French poets as Charlemagne and his Twelve 
Peers. In the British Museum we have an old French MSS; con- 
taining the history of Charlemagne, translated into prose from Turpin's 
Latin. The writer declares, that he preferred a sober prose transla- 
tion of this authentic historian, as histories in rhyme, undoubtedly 
very numerous on this subject, looked so much like lies^. His title 
is extremely curious. ' Ci comence I'Estoire que Turpin le Ercevesque 
' de Reins fit del bon roy Charlemayne, coment il conquist 

* Espaigne, e delivera des Paens. Et pur ceo qe Estoire ?imce 
' scmble mensunge, est ceste mis in prose, solun le Latin que Turpin 

* mesmes fist, tut ensi cume il le vist et vist^. 

Oddegir the Dane makes a part of Charlemagne's history ; and, I 
believe, is mentioned by archbishop Turpin. But his exploits have 
been recorded in verse by Adenez, an old French poet, not mentioned by 
Fauchett, author of the two metrical romances of Berlin and Clcomadcs, 
under the name of Ogier le Danois, in the 1207. This author was 
master of the musicians, or, as others say, herald at arms, to the duke 
of Brabant. Among the royal MSS. in the Museum, we have a 
poem, Le Livre de Ogeir de Dannejiiarche. [ 1 5 E. vi. 4.] The 
French have likewise illustrated this champion in Leonine rhyme. 
And I cannot help mentioning, that they have in verse Visions of 
Oddegir ihe Dane in the kingdoi7i of Fairy, 'Vision d' Ogeir le 

* Danois au Royaume de Faerie en vers Francois,' printed at Paris 
in 1548. 

On the Trojan story, the French have an ancient poem, at least not 
posterior to the thirteenth century, entitled Roman de Troye, written 

1 Fauchett, p, 103. This story was also written in_ very old rhyme by one Menessier, not 
mentioned in Fauchett, from whence it was reduced into prose 1530. fol. Paris. Percaval le 
Galois, ie quel acheva les avantiire du Saint Graal, avec aiccuii- /aits dtc chevalier Gavain, 
ira}islatee du rime de rancien auteur Messenier, &c. In the royal library at Paris is Le 
RoM.\N DE Perseval Ic Galios, par Crestien de Troves. In verse, fol. INIons. Galland 
thinks there is another romance under this title, Mem. de Lit. iii. p, 427. .seq. 433. 8vo. The 
author of which he supposes may be Rauol de Biavais, mentioned by Fauchett, p. 142. Com- 
Jjare Lenglet, IJibl. Rom. p. 250. The author of this last-mentioned Percevall, in the exor- 
dium, says that he wrote among others, the romances of Eneas, Roy JNlarc, and Uselt le 
Blonde: and that he translated into French, Ovid's Art of Love. 

2 There is a carious passage to this purpose in an old French prose romance of Charlemagne, 
written before the year 1200. ' Baudouin Coiijte de Hainan trouva a sens en Bourgongne le 
' vie d& Charlemagne : et mourant la donna a .sa sour Yolond Comtesse de S. Paul qui m'.a 
'prie que je la mette en Roman sans ryme. Faroe que tel se delitera el Roman qui del 
' Latin n'ent cure ; et par le Roman sera mielx gardee. Maintes gens en ont ouy conter et 
' chanter, mais n'est ce vteitson?:s non ce qu'ils en disent et chantent cil conteour ne cil jug- 

* leor. Nuz contes kvmez n'en est vrais : tot Mensonge ce qu'ils dient,' Liv. quatr. 

3 MSS. Harl. 273. 23. Cod. INIembr. f 86. There is a very old metrical romance on this 
subject, ibid. MSS. Harl. 527. i. f i. Cod. membr. 4to. 

4 Svo. There is sXio L' Histoire du prcttx Meurviti i^is d'Ocier le Danois. Paris. i;-a- 
4to. And 1540. Svo. 


by Bcnoit dc Sainct More. As this author appears not to have been 
known to the accurate Fauchett, nor la Croix du Maine ; I will cite 
the exordium, especially as it records his name ; and implies that the 
piece is translated from the Latin, and that the subject was not then 
common in French. 

Cette estoire n'est pas usee N'cn gaires livres n'est trouvee : 

La retraite ne fut encore Mais Beneoit de sante More, 

L' a translate, ct fait et dit, Et a sa main les mots ecrit. 

He mentions his own name again in the body of the work, 
and at the end. 

Je ncn fait plus ne plus en dit Beneoit qui c'est Roman fit^. 

Du Cange emunerates a metrical j\ISS. romance on this subject by 
Jaques Millet, entitled De la Destruction de Troie''-. Montfaucon, 
whose extensive enquires nothing could escape, mentions Dares 
Phrigius translated into French verse, at Milan, about the twelfth 
century^. We find also, among the royal MSS. at Paris Dictys 
Cretensis, translated into French verse, [Montf. Catal MSS. ii. p. 
1662.] To this subject, although almost equally belonging to that of 
Charlemagne, we may also refer a French romance in verse, written 
by Philipes Mosques, canon and chancellor of the church of Tournay. 
It is in fact, a chronicle of France : but the author, who does not 
chuse to begin quite so high as Adam and Eve, nor yet later than the 
Trojan war, opens his history with the rape of Helen, passes on to an 
ample description of the siege of Troy ; and, through an exact detail 
of all the great events which succeeded, conducts his reader to the 
year 1240. This work comprehends all the fictions of Turpin's Char- 
lemagne, with a variety of other extravagant stories dispersed in 
many professed romances. But it preserves numberles curious par- 
ticulars, which throw considerable light on historical facts. Du Cange 
has collected from it all that concerns the French emperors of 
Constantinople, which he has printed at the end of his entertaining 
history of that city. 

It was indeed the fashion for the historians of these times, to form 
such a general plan as would admit all the absurdities of popular 
tradition. Connection of parts, and uniformity of subject, were as 
little studied as truth. Ages of ignorance and superstition are more 
affected by the mar\^ellous than by plain facts ; and believe what 
they find written, without discernment or examination. No man 
before the sixteenth centuiy presumed to doubt that the Francs 
derived their origin from Francus, a son of Hector ; that the Spaniards 
were descended from Japhet, the Britons from Brutus, and the Scotch 
from Fergus. Vincent de Beauvais, who lived under Louis the ninth of 
France, and who, on account of his extraordinary erudition, was 
appointed preceptor to that king's sons, very gravely classes arch- 

1 Sec M. GaUaud ut sup., p. 425. - Gloss. Lat. Ind. Aut. p. cxclii. ^ Monum. Fr. i. 3741 


bishop Turpin's Charlemagne among the real histories, and places it 
on a level with Suetonius and Cesai*. He was himself an historian, 
and has left a large history of the world, fraught with a variety of 
reading, and of high repute in the middle ages ; but edifying and 
entertaining as this work might have been to his contemporaries, at 
present it serves only to record the prejudices, and to characterise 
their credulity. He flourished about 1260. 

Hercules and Jason, as I have before hinted, were involved in the 
Trojan story by Guido de Colonna, and hence became familiar to 
the romance writers^ The Hercules, the Theseus, and the Amazons 
of Boccacio, hereafter more particularly mentioned, came from 
this source, I do not at present recollect any old French metrical 
romances on these subjects, but presume that there are many, Jason 
•seems to have vied with Arthur and Charlemage ; and so popular 
was his expedition to Colchos, or rather so firmly believed, that in 
honour of so respectable an adventure, a duke of Burgundy 
instituted the order of the Golden Fleece, in the year 1468, At the 
same time his chaplain Raoulle Feure illustrated the story which gave 
rise to this magnificient institution, in a prolix and elaborate histoiy, after- 
wards translated by Caxton^. But I must not forget, that among the 
royal MSS. in the Museum, the French romance of Hcrailes occurs 
in two books, enriched with numerous ancient paintings. [17 E, ii.] 
Pertoiiape and Ypomcdoii, in our Prologue, seem to be Parthenopeus 
and Hippomedon, belonging to the Theban story, and mentioned, I 
think, in Statius, An English romance in verse, called CJiildc 
Ippomedone, will be cited hereafter, was most probably translated 
from the French. 

The conquests of Alexander the great were celebrated by one 
Simon, in old Pictavian or Limosin, about the twelfth century. This 
piece thus begins : 

Chanson voil dis per ryme et per Leoin 

Del fil Filippe lo roy de Macedoin. [Fauch, p. 77.] 

An Italian poem on Alexander, called Trionfo Magno, was presented 
to Leo X., by Dominicho Falugi Anciseno, in the year 1521. Cre- 
scimbeni says it was copied from a Provencial romance^. But one 
of the most valuable pieces of the old French poetry is on the 
subject of this victorious monarch, entitled, Romaii d'' Alexandre. 
It has been called the second poem now remaining in the French 

•1 The Trojomanna Saga, a Scandic MSS. 'at Stockholm, seems to be posterior to Giiido's 
publication. It begins with Jason and Hercules, and their voyage to Colchos : proceeds to tlie 
rape of Helen, and ends with the seige and destruction of Troy. It celebrates all the Grecian 
and Asiatic heroes concerned in that war. Wanl. Antiquit. Septentr. p. 315. col. i. 

■- Observat, on Spenser's Fairy Queen, i. § v. P. 176. seq. I^Iontfaucon mentions Bledca:^ ct 
yasonis Historia a Guidonc de Columna. Catal. I\ISS. Bibl.Coislin. ii. p. nog.— 818. 

3 Istor. Volg. Poef i. iv. p. 332. In the royal ISISS, there is a French poem entitled Ln. 
Vengeaujice da graiint A kxandre ig D. i. 2. Brit. INIus. I am not sure whether or no it is not 
a portion of the '^xexxh Alexandre, mentioned below, written by Jehanii Nivelois. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 10] 

language, and was written about the year 1200. It was confessedly 
translated from the Latin ; but it bears a nearer resemblance tc 
Simeon Seth's romance, than to Quintus Curtius. It was the con- 
federated performance of four writers, who, as Fauchett expresses 
himself, were associez en letir Jonglerie. [Fauchett, Rec. p. 83.J 
Lambert li Cors, a learned civilian, began the poem : and it was con- 
tinued and completed by Alexander de Paris, John de Nivelois, 
and Peter de Saint Clost\ The poem is closed with Alexander's 
will. This is no imagination of any of our three poets, although 
one of them was a civil lawyer. Alexander's will, in which he 
nominates successors to his provinces and kingdom, was a tradition 
commonly received, and is mentioned by Diodonis Siculus, and 
Ammianus IMarcellinus^. I know not whether this work was ever 
printed. It is voluminous ; and in the Bodleian library at Oxford 
is a vast folio MSS. of it on vellum, which is of great antiquity, 
richly decorated, and in high preservation. [MSS. Bodl. B. 264. foL] 
The margins and initials exhibit, not only fantastic ornaments and 
illuminations exquisitely finished, but also pictures executed with 
singular elegance, expressing the incidents of the story, and dis- 
playing the fashion of buildings, armour, dress, musical instruments^ 
and other particulars appropriated to the times. At the end we 
read this hexameter, which points out the name of the scribe. 

Xomen soriptoris est Thomas plenus amoris. 
Then follows the date of the year in which the transcript was com- 
pleted, viz. 1338. Afterwards there is the name and date of the 
illuminator, in the following colophon, written in golden letters. 
' Che livre fu perfais de la enluminiere an xviii", jour davryl par 
'Jehan de grise I'an de grace m.ccc.xliiii.' Hence it may be con- 
cluded, that the illuminations and paintings of this superb MSS., 
Avhich were most probably begun as soon as the scribe had finished 
his part, took up six years : no long time, if we consider the atten- 
tion of an artist to ornaments so numerous, so various, so minute, and 
so laboriously touched. It has been supposed, that before the ap- 
pearance of this poem, the Romans, or those pieces which celebrated 
Gests, were constantly composed in short verses of six or eight syll- 
ables : and that in this Roman d^ Alexandre verses of twelve syllables 
were first used. It has therefore been imagined, that the verses called 
Alexandrines, the present French heroic measure, took their rise 
from this poem ; Alexander being the hero, and Alexander the chief of 

1 Fauchett, ibid. Mons. Galland mentions a French romance in verse, unknown to Fauchett, 
and entitled Roman, d" Athys et de Prophylias, written by one Alexander, whom he supposes 
to be this Alexander of Paris. Mem. Lit. iti. p. 429. edit. Amst. It is ofiea cited by Carpcn- 
tier, Suppl. Gang. 

2 Fabric, liibl. Gr. c. ili. I. viii. p 20;. 

3 The m<^,-t frequent of these arc organs, bagpipes, lutes, and trumpets. 

4 The bishop of Gloucester has a most beautiful French .MSS. on vellum oi Mart d' Ari/mr, 
ornamented in the same oianncr. It was a present from Verluc tlic engraver. 


the four poets concernecl in the work. That the name, some centuries 
afterwards, might take place in honour of this celebrated and early 
effort of French poetrj^, I think is very probable ; but that verses of 
twelve syllables made their first appearance in this poem, is a doctrine, 
which, to say no more, from examples already produced and examined, 
is at least ambiguous'-. In this poem, Gadifer, hereafter mentioned, of 
Arabian lineage, is a very conspicuous champion. 

Gadifer su moult preus, d'un Arrabi lignage. 
A rubric or title of one of the chapters is, ' Comment Alexander fuit 
' mys en un vesal de vooire pour veoir le merveiles, &c.' This is a 
passage already quoted from Simeon Seth's romance, relating Alexan- 
der's expedition to the bottom of the ocean, in a vessel of glass, for the 
purpose of inspecting fishes and sea monsters.' In another place, 
from the same romance, Alexander turns astronomer, and soars 
to the moon by the help of four gryphons. The caliph is frequently 
mentioned in this piece ; and Alexander, like Charlemagne, has his 
twelve peers. 

These were the four reigning stories of romance. On which perhaps 
English pieces, translated from the French, existed before or about the 
year 1300. But there are some other English romances mentioned in 
the prologue of Richard Cueur de Lyon, which we likewise pro- 
bably received from the French in that period, and on which I shall 
here also enlarge. 

Beuves de Hanton, or Sir Beavis of Southampton, is a French 
romance of considerable antiquity, although the hero is not older than 
the Norman conquest. It is alluded to in our English romance on 
this story, which will again be cited, and at large. 

Forth thei yode so saith the boke\ 
And again more expressly, 

Under the bridge wer sixty belles, Right as the Romans tclles^. 
The Romans is the French original. It is called the Romance of 
Beaves de Hanton, by Perre Labbe. [Nov. Bibl. p. 334. edit. 1652.] 
The veiy ingenious Monsieur de la Curne de sainte Palaye mentions 
an ancient French romance in prose, entitled Beufres de Hanton. 
[Mem. Lit. xv. 582. 4to.] Chaucer mentions Bevis, with other famous 
romances, but whether in French or English is uncertain*. Bciives 
of Hantonne was printed at Paris in 1502. [4to. Percy's Ball. iii. 217.] 
Ascapart was one of his giants, ^ a character^ in very old French 
romances. Bevis was a Saxon chieftain, who seems to have extended 
his dominion along the southern coasts of England, which he is said to 

1 See Pref. Le Roman de la Rose, par Mons. L' Abbe Lenglet, i. p. xxxvi. 

3 Sign P. ii. 4 Signal. E. iv. 5 Rim. Vhop. 

5 Seidell's Drayton. Polyolb. s. iii. p. 37. 

6 It is now inclosed in the beautiful gardens of Cencrue, Sir John Mordaunt, and gives 
ame to his scat. 


have defended against the Norman invaders. He hved at Downton 
in Wiltshire. Near Southampton is an artificial hill called Bcvis 
Moratf, on which was probably a fortress^. It is pretended that 
he was earl of Southampton. His sword is shewn in Arundel 
castle. This piece was evidently written after the crusades ; as 
Bevis is knighted by the king of Armenia, and is one of the generals 
at the siege of Damascus. 

Guy Earl of Warwick is recited as a French I'omanceby Labbe^. 
Tn the British Museum a metrical history in very old French appears, 
in which Felicia, or Felice, is called the daughter of an earl of 
Warwick, and Guide, or Guy of Warwick, is the son of Seguart 
the earl's steward. The MSS. is at present imperfect. [MSS. 
Harl. 3775. 2.] IMontfaucon mentions among the royal MSS. at 
Paris, Roman de Guy et Beuves dc Hanton. The latter is the ro- 
mance last mentioned. Again, Le Livre de Guy dc Warwick et de 
Harold d'Ardeiine. [Catal. MSS. p. 792.] This Harold d'Arden is 
a distinguished warriour of Guy's history, and therefore his achieve- 
ments sometimes form a separate romance ; as in the royal MSS. of 
the British Museum, where we find Le Roinant de Herolt Dardemie. 
[15 E. vi. 8 foL] In the English romance of Guy, mentioned at large 
in its proper place, this champion is called Syr Heraiide of Ardeiiie. 
[Sign. L. ii. vers.] At length this favorite subject formed a large prose 
romance, entitled, Gtiy de Wai'wick Chevalier d^ Anglcterre et de la 
belle Jille Felix sarnie, ■SiViA printed at Paris in 1525^. Chaucer men- 
tions Guy's stoiy among the Romainices of Pris [Rim. Thop.] : and 
it is alluded to in the Spanish romance of Tirante il Blanco, or 
Tirante the White, supposed to have been written not long after the 
year 1430. [Percy's Ball. iii. 100.] This romance was composed, or 
perhaps enlarged, after the crusades ; as we find, that Guy's redoubted 
encounters with Colbrond the Danish giant, with the monster of Duns- 
more heath, and the dragon of Northumberland, are by no means 
equal to some of his achievements in the holy kind, and the trophies 
which he won from the Soldan under the command of the emperor 

The romance of SiDRAC, often entitled, Le Livere Sydrac le 
philosophe le quel horn appele le livere de la funtane de totes Sciences, 
appears to have been very popular, from the present frequency of its 
MSS. But it is rather a romance of Arabian philosophy than of 
chivalry. It is a system of natural knowledge, and particularly treats 
of the virtues of plants. Sidrac, the philosopher of this system, was 

1 Ubi. supr. 2 Fol. And n^.iin, ib. 1526. 410. 

- Among the Bcnnct MSS. there is Ro.manz de Gui de Warwyk. Num l. It bcsins. 

Puis ccl terns ke deus fu ner. 

This book Ijclongcd to Saint Augiistin's abbey at Canterbury. With regard to the preceding 

romance of Br.vis, the Italians Uad Utiovo ri'A/iioiia, undoubtedly from tlic French, before 

1348. And Luhyd recites iji Welsh, V itori Bonn o tJamitiit. AkciI/Uol. p. otj. 


astronomer to an eastern king. He lived 847 years after Noah, of 
whose book of astronomy he was possessed. He converts Bocchus, 
an idolatrous king of India, to the christian faith, by whom, he is in- 
vited to build a mighty tov/er against the invasions of a rival king of 
India. But the histoiy, no less than the subject of this piece, displays 
the state, nature, and migrations of literature in the dark ages. After 
the death of Bocchus, Sidrac's book fell into the hands of a Chaldean 
renowned for piety.' It then successively becomes the property of 
king Madian, Namaan the Asyrrian, and Grypho archbishop of 
Samaria. The latter had a priest named Demetrius, who brought it 
into Spain, and here it was translated from Greek into Latin. This 
translation is said to be made at Toledo, by Roger de Palermo, a 
minorite friar, in the thirteenth century. A king of Spain then com- 
manded it to be translated from Latin into Arabic, and sent it as a 
most valuable present to Emir Elmomenim, lord of Tunis. It was 
next given to Frederick II, emperor of Germany, famous in the cru- 
sades. This work, which is of considerable length, was translated 
into English verse, and will be mentioned on that account again. 
Sidrac is recited as an eminent philosopher, with Seneca and king 
Solomon, in the Marchaitnfs Second talc, ascribed to Chaucer^. 

It is natural to conclude, that most of these French romances were 
current in England, either in the French originals, which were well 
understood at least by the more polite readers, or else by translation 
or imitation, as I have, before hinted, when the romance of Richard 
Ctieur de Lyon, in whose prologue they are recited, was translated into 
English. That the latter was the case as to some of them, at least, 
we shall soon produce actual proofs. A writer, who has considered 
these matters with much penetration and judgment, observes, that 
probably from the reign of our Richard I., we are to date that remark- 
able intercommunication and mutual exchangeof compositions which we 
discover to have taken place at some early period between the French 
and English minstrels. The same set of phrases, the same species of 
characters, incidents, and adventures, and often the identical stories, 
being found in the metrical romances of both nations^. From close 
connection and constant intercourse, the traditions and the champions 
of one kingdom were equally known in the other : and although Bevis 
and Guy were English heroes, yet on these principles this circumstance 
by no means' destroys the supposition, that their achievements, 
although perhaps already celebrated in rude English songs, might be 
first wrought into romance by the 'French^. And it seems probable, 

1 Urr. p. 616. V. 1932. There is an old translation of Sidrac into Dutcli. MSS. Marshall, 
Bibl. Bodl. 31. fol. - Percy's Ess. on Anc. Engl. IMinstr. p. iz. 

2 Dugdalc relates, that in the reign of Henry IV. about the year 1410, a lord Beauchamp 
travelling into the cast, was hospitably received at Jerusalem by the Soldan's lieutenant : 
'Who hearing that he was descended from the famous Guy of Warwick, whose story they /inti 
' in books 0/ their own language, invited him to his palace, and royally feasting him, presented 
' him with three precious stones of great value, besides divers deaths of silk and gold given to 


that we continued for some time tliis practice of borrowing from our 
neighbours. Even the titles of our oldest romances, such as SirBlan- 
daiiiorc, Sir Triainore, Sir Eglamoure of Artoys^, La Mort cVArtJutr, 
with many more, betray their French extraction. It is likewise a pre- 
sumptive argument in favour of this assertion, that we find no prose 
romances in our language, before Caxton translated from the French 
the History of Troy, the Life of Charlemagne, the Histories of Jason, 
Paris, and Vyenne^, the Death of King Arthur, and other prose pieces 
of chivalry : by which, as the profession of minstrelsy decayed and 
gradually gave way to a change of manners and customs, romances in 
metre were at length imperceptibly superseded, or at least grew less in 
use as a mode of entertainment at public festivities. 

Various causes concurred, in the mean time, to multiply books of 
chivalry among the French, and to give them a superiority over 
the English, not only in the number but in the excellence of those 
compositions. Their barons lived in greater magnificence. Their 
feudal system flourished on a more sumptuous, extensive, and lasting 
establishment. Schools were instituted in their castles for initiating 
the young nobility in the rules and practice of chivahy. Their tilts 
and tournaments were celebrated with a higher degree of pomp ; and 
their ideas of honour and gallantry were more exaggerated and 
more refined. 

We may add, what indeed has been before incidentally remarked, 
that their troubadours were thetirst writers of metrical romances. But 
by what has been here advanced, I do not mean to insinuate without 
any restrictions, that the French entirely led the way in these composi- 

' his servants.' Baron, i. p. 243. col. i. This story is delivered on the credit of John Rouse, 
the traveller's contemporary. Yet it is not so very improbable that Guy's history should be a 
book among the Saracens, if we consider, that Constantinople 'was not only a central and con- 
necting point between the eastern and western world, but that the French in the thirteenth 
century had acquired an establishment there under Baldwin earl of Flanders : that the French 
language must have been known in Sicily, Jerusalem, Cyprus, and Antioch, in consequence of 
the conquests of Robert Guiscard, Hugo le Grand, and Godfrey of EuHoigne : and that pil- 
grimages into the holy land were excessively frequent. It is hence easy to suppose, that the 
French imported many of their stories or books of this sort into the east ; which being thus 
understood there, and suiting the genius of the orientals, were at length translated into their 
language. It is remarkable, that the Greeks at Constantinople, in the twelfth centurj-, and 
since, called all the Europeans by the name of Franks ; as the Turks do to this day. See 
Seldcn Polvolb. § viii. p. 130. 

1 In our English SvR Eglamour of Astoys, there is this reference to the French from 
which it was translated. Sign. E. i. 

His own mother there he wedde. In Romaunce as we rcdc 

Again, fol. ult. 

In Romaunce this cronycle ys. 

The authors of these pieces often refer to their original, just as Ariosto mentions Turpin for his 

^ But I must not omit here that Du Cange recites a matrical French romance in MSS. Le 
Rot>;an tie Cirarii de Vicnne, written by Bertrand le Clcrc. Gloss. Lat. i. Ind. Auct. p. 
cxciii. Madox has printed the names of several French romances found in the reign of 
Edward III. among which one on this subject occur;;. Formul. Anglic, p. 12. Compare Ubser- 
valions on Sfeiucr's I'airy Queen, vol. ii. § viii. jj. 43. Among the royal MSS. in the 
British Museum, there is in verse Uistoirc dc Gyrart de Viannc et de sus freres,, 20 D* 
>i. 2. This MS. was perhaps written before the year 1300. 


tions. Undoubtedly the Provencial bards contributed much to the 
progress of Italian literature. Raimond IV. of Aragon, count of 
Provence, about the year 1220, a lover and a judge of letters, invited 
to his court the most celebrated of the songsters who professed to 
polish and adorn the Provencal language by various sorts of poetry. 
[Giovan. Villani, Istor. 1. vi. c. 92.] Charles I., his son-in-law, and the 
inheritor of his virtues and dignities, conquered Naples, and carried 
into Italy a taste for the Provencal literature. At Florence especially 
this taste prevailed, where he reigned many years with great splendour, 
and where his successors resided. Soon afterwards the Roman court 
was removed to Provence i. Hitherto the Latin language had only 
been in use. The Provencal writers established a common dialect : 
and their examples convinced other nations, that the modern lan- 
guages were no less adapted to composition than those of- antiquity^. 
They introduced a love of reading, and diffused a general and popular 
taste for poetr}', by writing in a language intelligible to the ladies and 
the people. Their verses being conveyed in a familiar tongue, became 
the chief amusement of princes and feudal lords, whose courts had 
now begun to assume an air of greater brilliancy: a circumstance 
vv'hich necessarily gave great encouragement to their profession, and 
by rendering these arts of ingenious entertainment universally fashion- 
able, imperceptibly laid the foundation of polite literature. From these 
beginnings it were easy to trace the progress of poetry- to its perfection, 
through John de Mean in France, Dante in Italy, and Chaucer in 

This praise must undoubtedly be granted to the Provencal poets. 
But in the mean time, to recur to our original argument, we should be 
cautious of asserting in general and indiscriminating terms, that the 
Provencal poets were the first writers of metrical rom.ance : at least 
we should ascertain with rather more precision than has been com- 
monly used on this subject, how far they may claim this merit. I am 
of opinion that there were two sorts of French troubadours, who have 
not hitherto been sufficiently distinguished. If we diligently examine 
their history, we shall find that the poetry of the first troubadours con- 
sisted in satires, moral fables, allegories, and sentimental sonnets. So 
early as the year 11 80, a tribunal called the Court of Love, was insti- 
led both in Provence and Picardy, at which questions in gallantry 
were decided. This institution furnished eternal matter for the poets, 
who threw the claims and arguments of the different parties into verse, 

1 Villani acquaints us, that Prunetto Latini, Dante's master, was the first who attempted to 
polish the Florctnincs by improving their taste and style ; which he did by writing his grand 
work the Tesoro in Provencal. He died in 1294. Villan. ibid. I. ix. c. 135. 

2 Dante designed at first that his Inferno, and that piece should appear in Latin. But find- 
ing that he could not so effectually in that langi.iage impress his satirical strokes and political 
maxims on the laity, or illiterate, he altered his mind, and published those pieces in Italian. 
Had Petrarch written his .^t/r/ra, his Eclogues, and his prose compositions in Italian, the 
literature of his country would much sooner have arrived at perfection. 


in a style that afterwards led the way to the spiritual conversations of 
Cyrus and Clelia^. Fontenellc docs not scruple to acknowledge, that 
gallantrj'was the parent of French poetry 2. [ThcatrFr.p. 13.] But to sing 
romantic and chivalrous adventures wasa verydiffcrenttask,andrequired 
verj-differcnt talents. The troubadours therefore who composed metrical 
romances form a diflcrent species, and ought always to be considered 
separately. And this latter class seems to have commenced at a later 
period, not till after the crusades had effected a great change in the 
manners and ideas of the western world. In the mean time, I hazard 
a conjecture. Cinthio Giraldi supposes, that the art of the troubadours, 
commonly called the Cay Science, was first communicated from France 
to the Italians, and afterwards to the Spaniards. [Huet, Orig. Rom. p, 
108.] This perhaps may be true : but at the same time it is highly pro- 
bable, as the Spaniards had their JUGLARES or convivial bards very 
early, as from long connection they were immediately and intimately 
acquainted with the fictions of the Arabians, and as they were naturally 
fond of chivalry, that the troubadours of Provence in great measure 
caught this turn of fabling from Spain. The communication, to men- 
tion no other obvious means of intercourse in an affair of this nature, 
was easy through the ports of Toulon and Marseilles, by which the 
two nations carried on from early times a constant commerce. Even 
the French critics themselves universally allow, that the Spaniards, 
having learned rhyme from the Arabians, through this very channel 
conveyed it to Provence. Tasso preferred Aviadis dc Gaiil, a romance 
originally written in Spain, by Vasco Lobcyra, before the year 1300^, 
to the most celebrated pieces of the Provencal poets. [Disc, del Poem 
Eroic. 1. ii. p. 45. 46.] But this is a subject which will perhaps receive 
illustration from a writer of great taste, talents, and industry, Monsieur 
de la Curne de Sainte Palaye, who will soon oblige the world with an 
ample history- of Provencal poetr)^; and whose researches into a kin- 
dred subject, already published, have opened a new and extensive field 
of information concerning the manners, institutions, and literature of 
the feudal ages^ 


Various matters suggested by the Prologue of RiCHARD CUEUR DE 
Lyox, cited in the last section, have betrayed us into a long digression, 
and interrupted the regularity of our annals. But I could not neglect 

1 This part of their character will be insisted upon more at large when wc come to speak of 
the works of Chaucer. 

- Nic. Amonius, Uibl. Hispan. Vet. torn. ii. 1. viii. c 7. num. 291. 

3 See Mciiioires sttr tancienne Chevalerie, &c. Paris, 1739. ii. tom. i2mo. 


SO fair an opportunity of preparing the reader for those metrical tales, 
■which having acquired a new cast of fiction from the crusades, and a 
magnificence of manners from the increase of chivalry, now began to 
be greatly multiplied, and as it were professedly to form a separate 
species of poetry. I now therefore resume the series, and proceed to 
give some specimens of the English metrical romances which appeared 
before or about the reign of Edward II., and although most of these 
pieces continued to be sung by the minstrels in the halls of our mag- 
nificent ancestors for some centuries afterwards, yet as their first ap- 
pearance may most probably be dated at this period, they properly 
coincide in this place with the tenour of our histoiy. In the mean 
time, it is natural to suppose, that by frequent repetition and succes- 
sive changes of language during many generations, their original 
simplicity must have been in some degree corrupted. Yet some of 
the specimens are extracted from manuscripts written in the reign of 
Edward III. Others indeed from printed copies, where the editors 
took great liberties in accommodating the language to the times. How- 
ever in such as may be supposed to have suffered most from deprava- 
tions of this sort, the substance of the ancient style still remains, and 
at least the structure of the story. On the whole, we mean to give the 
reader an idea of those popular heroic tales in verse, professedly 
written for the harp, which began to be multiplied among us about the 
beginning of the fourteenth centuiy. We will begin with the romance 
of Richard cueur DE Lyon, already mentioned. 

The poem opens with the marriage of Richard's father, Henry II., 
with the daughter of Carbarryne, a king of Antioch. But this is only 
a lady of romance. Henry married Eleanor the divorced queen of 
Louis of France. The minstrels could not conceive any thing less 
than an eastern princess to be the mother of this magnanimous hero. 

His barons him redde^ 

That they graunted hem a wj-fe to wedde. 
Hastily he sent his sonde Into many a divers londe, 

The fayrest woman that was on lyve 
They sholde bringe him to wyvc. 

The messengers or embassadors, in their voyage, meet a ship adorned 
like Cleopatra's galley. 

Suche ne sawe they never none, For it was so gay begone 

Every nayle with gold ygrave Of pure gold was his sklave' 

Her mast was of yvory, Of samyte her sayle wytly. 

Her ropes al of whyte sylke, • As whyte as ever was any mylke. 

The noble shyp was wythout With clothes of gold sprcd about. 

And her loft^and her wyndlace* Al of gold dcpaynted was: 

In the shyppc there were dyght KnyglUes and lordes of myght, 

And a lady therein was Bryght as sonne thorowe the glas. 

I Advised. 2 Rudder. C/avus. 3 Deck. •* Windls ss. 


Her men abrode gon stonde And becked them with her honde, 

And prayed them for to dwell And theyr aventures to tell. — 

' To dyverse londes do we wende 

' For kynge Harry hath us sendc 

' For to seche hym a quene, 

' The fayrest that myght on erthc bene.' 

Up arose a kynge of chayre 

With that word, and spake fa\Te, 

The chayre was of carbunkell stone, 

Suchc sawe they never none. 
And other dukes hym besyde, Noble men of moche pryde, 

And welcomed the messengers every chone, 

Into the shippe they gan gone. — 

Clothes of sylke wer sprad on borde. 
The kyng then anon badde. As it is in ryme radde^, 

That his doughter wer forthe fet And in a chayre bi hym set. 
Trompettes bigan to blowe, She was set in a throwe'^ 

With XX knygtes her aboute 

And double so many of ladyes stoute. — 

Whan thei had done their mete 

Of adventures they bygyn to speke. 

The kyng them told in his reason, 

How it cam hym in a vysyon. 
In his lond that he came fro In to Engclond for to go 

And hys doughter that was hym dere 

For to wende with him in fere^ 
And in this manner we bi dyght Unto your londe to wende rj^ght. 
Then answerede a messengere His name was clepcd Barnagere, 

' Ferther we will seeke nought ' To my lord she shall be brought.' 

They soon arrive in England, and the lady is lodged in the tower of 
London, one of the royal castles. 

The messengers the kyng have tolde 

Of that lady fayrc and bolde 
There she lay in the toure The lady that was whyt as flourc ; 

Kyng Harry gan hym dyght 

With edes, barons, and many a knyght 
Aycnst that ladye for to wende For he was courteys and hende : 

The damosell to londe was ladde 

Clothes of golde bifore her spraddc, 
The messengers on eche a syde. And mynystrells of moche prydc. 

Kyng Harry liked her se}-nge 

That fayre lady, and her fader the kynge. — 
To Westminster they went in fere Lordcs, ladies, that ther were, 

Trompettes bigan for to blowc 

To mete* thei went in a throwe, &c.^ 

The first of our hero's achievements in chivahy is at a splendid 

J i.r. Tlie French original. - Immediately. 

3 Conip.iiiy. * To dinner. » Sign. A. ii.— A. iiiL 


tournament held at Salisbury. Clarendon near Salisbury was one of 
the king's palaces^. 

Kynge Ry chard gan hym dysguyse In a full stronge queyntyse^ : 

He cam out of a valaye For to see of theyr playe, 

As a knyght avanturous His atyre was 9rgulous^ 

Al together cole blacke Was his horse without lacke, 

Upon his crest a raven stoode That yaned* as he were wode. — 

He bare a shafte that was grete and stronge 

It was fourtene fote longe, 
And it was gret and stoute, One and twenti inches aboute : 

The fyrst knyght that he ther mette 

Full egerly he him grette, 

With a dint amyd the shelde 

His hors he bare downe in the feld, &c^ 

A battle-axe which Richard carried with him from England into the 
holy land is thus described. 

King Rycharde I understonde Or he went out of Engelonde 

Let him. make an axe'^ for the nones 

To brake therewith the Sarasyns" bones. 

The heed was wroght right wele 

Therein was twenti bounded of stele : 

And when he com into Cyprys londe 

The axe toke he in his honde 

All that he hytte he all to frapped 

The gryffons* away faste rapped. 
And the pryson when he came to With his axe he smote ryght the 

Dores, barres, and iron chaynes, &c^. 

1 In the pipe-rolls of this king's reign, I find the following articles relating to this ancient 
palace, which has been already mentioned incidentally. Rot. Pip. i. Ric. i. ' Wiltes. Et in 

cariagio vini Regis a Clarendon usque Woodestoke, 34-?. 4a?. per Br. Reg. Et pro ducendis 
200 m. [marcis] a Saresburia usque Bristow, 7^-. 4rf. per Br. Reg. Et pro ducendis 200 m. 
[marcis] a Saresburia nsque Glocestriana, 26.?. lod. per Br. Reg. Et pro tonellis et clavis ad 
eosdem denarios. Et in cariagio de 4000 marcis a Sarum usque Suthanton, et pro tonellis 
et aliis necessariis, Zs. et lii. per Br. Reg.' And again in the reign of Henry III. Rot. Pip. 

30. Hen. iii. 'Wiltescire. Et in una marcelsia ad opus regis et reginje apud Clarendon 
cum duobus interclusoriis, et duabus cameris priv.atis, hostio veteris aula; amovendo in 
porticu, et de eadem aula camera facienda cum camino et fenestris, et camera privata, et 
quadam magna coquina quadrata, et aliis operationibus, contentis in Brevi, inceptis per 
eundem Nicolaum et non perfectis, 526/. x6s. dd. ob. per Br. Reg.' Again, Rot. Pip. 39. 

Hen. iii. 'Sudhamt. Coinp. Nova; forestce. Et in triginta miliaribus scindularum [shingles] 
faciend. in eadem foresta et cariand. easdem usque Clarendon ad domum regis ibidem coope- 
riandam, 6/. et i marc, per Br. Reg. Et in 30 mill, scindularum faciend. in eadem, et cariand. 
usque Clarendon, 11/. lor.' And again, in the same rcign the canons of Ivy church receive 

pensions for celebrating in the royal chapel there. Rot. Pip- 7- Hen. iii. 'Wiltes. Et 

' canonicis de monasterio ederoso ministrantibus in Capclla de Clarendon. 35/. 7</. ob.' Stu- 

keley is mistaken in saying this place was built by king John. 

2 Du Cange, Gl. Lat. Cointise. 3 Proud, pompous. ^ Yawned. 5 Ibid. 

6 Richard's battle-axe is also mentioned by Brunne, and on this occasion, Chron. p. 159. 

7 The crusades imported the phrase Jcu ^arrazionois, for any sharp engagement, into the 
old French romances. — Thus in the RoiMan of Ale.xakdek, MSS. Bibl. Bodl. utsupr. P. i. 

Tholoraer le regrette ct le plaint en Grijois, 
Et dist que s'il cussent o culz telz vingt et trois, 

II nous eussent fet un jeu Sarrazionois. 8 p. fo7inde. 

9 The Byzantine Greeks are often called Griffones by the historians of the middle ages. Du 

angc Gloss. Ville-Hard. p. 363. Also Rob. Brun. Chron. p. 151. 157. 159. 160. 165. 171. 173. 

Wanley supposes that the Griffin in heraldry was intended to signify a Greek, or Saracen, 

whom they thus represented under the figure of an imaginary eastern monster, which never 

existed but as an armorial badge. 10 Sign. G. L 


This formidable axe is again mcnlioncd at the siege of Aeon, or 
Acre, the ancient Ptolmais. 

Kyng Rycharde after anone ryght Towards Aciys gan hym dyght, 
And as he sayled towarde Surrye\ He was warned of a spye. 
How the folkc of the hethcn law, A gret chayne thei had i drawc 

Over the haven of Acres fers Was fastened to two pyllers 

That no shyppe sliolde in wynne^. — 
Therefore seven yers and more All crysten kynges laye thore 

And with hongre suftre payne Forlettyng of that same chayne. 

When kyng Rycharde herde that tydinge 

For joye his herte bigan to sprynge, 

A swyfte strong galey he toke. 

Trencheinere^, so saith the boke. — 
The galey yede as swifte As ony fowle by the lyfte*, 

And kynge Rycharde that was so goode, 

With his axe afore the shippe stoode 

And whan he cam to the chayne, 

With his axe he smote it a twayne^, 
That all the barons verament Sayd it was a noble dent, 

An for joye of that dede The cuppcs faste aboute yede®. 

With good \\yne, pyment and clare. 

And failed towards Acrys citye 
King Rycharde out of his galye Let caste wild fire into the skye. 

His trompettes yede in his galye Men might here it to the skye, 

Trompettes, home, and shalmys'', The sea burnt al of fyre grekys^. 

ThQfyre grckys, or Grecian fire, seems to be a composition be- 
longing to the Arabian chemistry. It is frequently mentioned by the 
Byzantine historians, and Avas very much used in the wars of the 
middle ages, both by sea and land. It was a sort of wild-fire, said to 
be inextinguishable by water, and chiefly used for burning ships, 
against which it was thrown in pots or phials by the hand. In land 
engagements it seems to have been discharged by machines con- 
structed on purpose. The oriental Greeks pretended that this artificial 
fire was invented by Callinicus, an architect of Hcliopolis, under Con- 
stantine ; and that Constantine prohibited them from communicating 
the manner of making it to any foreign people. It was however in 
common use among the nations confederated by Byzantines : and 
Anna Comnena has given an account of its ingredients^, which were 
bitumen, sulphur, and naptha. It is calledyt'^ gregois in the French 

1 Syria. 

2 So Fabyan of Rosamond's bower, ' that no creature, man or woman, myght Wynne to her.' 
t.e. go in, by contraction, Win. Chron. vol. i. p. 320. col. i. edit. 1533. 

3 Rob. Brun. Chron. p. 170. 

The kynge's owne galeie he cald it Trcnctltemere. 

* A bird on wing. Or perhaps. By the lyfle, is, through the air. Lye in Junius, V. Lift. 
5 In two. Thus Rob. de lirunnc says, 'he fondrcd the Sarazyns otuynuc' p. 574. Ho 
forced the Sarazcns into two parties. 
8 Went. 7 Shawms. 8 Sign. G. iii. 

8 Du Cange, Not. ad Joinvil. p. 71. And GI. Lat. V. Ignis GK-icus. 


chronicles and romances. Our minstrell. I believe, is singular in 
saying that Richard scattered this fire on Saladin's ships : manj^ 
monkish historians of the holy war, in describing the siege of Aeon, 
relate that it was employed on that occasion, and many others, by the 
Saracens against the Christians^. Procopius, in his history of the 
Goths, calls it Medea's Oil, as if it had been a preparation used in 
the sorceries of that enchantress^. 

The quantity of huge battering rams and other military engines, 
now unknown, which Richard was said to have transported into the 
holy land, was prodigious. The names of some of them are given in 
another part of this romanced It is an historical fact, that Richard 
was killed by the French from the shot of an arcubalist, a machine 
which he often worked skilfully with his own hands : and Guillaume 
Ic Briton, a Frenchman, in his Latin poem called Philippeis, intro- 
duces Atropos making a decree, that Richard should die by no other 
means than by a wound from this destructive instrument ; the use of 
which, after it had been interdicted by the pope in the year 1139, he 
revived, and is supposed to have shewn the French in the crusades*. 

Gynnes^ he had of wonder wyse, Mangenelles" of grete quyentyfe, 
yVrblast bowe made with gynne 
The holy land therewith to wynne ; 
Over all other utterly 
He had a myle^ of grete maystry, 
In the myddes of a shyppe to stonde 
Suche ne sawe they never in no londe. 

1 See more particularly Chron. Rob. Brun. p. 170. And Benedict. Abb. p. 652. And Jolnv. 
Hist. L. p. 39. 46. 52. 53. 62. 72. - iv. II. 

3 Twenty grete gynnes for tlie nones Kynge Richard sent for to cast stones, &c. 
Among these were the Mategryffon and the Robynet. Sign. N. iii. The former of these is 
thus described. Sign. E. iiii. 

rhave a castell I understonde Is made of tembre of Englonde 

With sy.xe stages full of tourelles \Ve!I flouryshed with cornelles, &c. 

4 Du Cange Not Joinv. p. 68. 1\I.a.teGRYFF0N is the Terror or plague of the Greeks. Du 
Cange, in his Gallo-Byzantine history, mentions a castle of this name in Peloponnesus. 
Benedict says, that Richard erected a strong castle, which he called Mute gryffon, on the 
brow of a steep mountain without the walls of ihe ci:y of Messina in Sicily. Benedict. Abb. 
p. 621. ed. Hearn. sub ann. 1190. Rober. de Brunne mentions this engine from our romaace. 
Chron. p. 157. 

The romance it sais Richarde did make a pele. 
On kastclle wife allwais wrought of trc ful wcle. 
In schip he dcd it lede, &c. ...... 

He pele from that dai forward he cald it Mate griffon. 

Pele is a house. Archbishop Turpin mentions Charlemagne's wooden cas'tles at the siege of a 
city in France, cap i.x. 

5 Carpentier's Suppl. Du Cange, Lat, Gl. torn. i. p. 434. And Du Cange ad Ann. Ale.x. p 357. 
C Engines. 

7 It is observable, that M.'vnganum, Mangoncll, was not kown among the Roman military 
machines, but existed first in Byzantine Greek iHa-yyavov ^ a circumstance which seems to 
point out its inventors, at least to shew that it belonged to the oriental art of war. It occurs 
often in the Byzantine Tactics, although at the same time it was perhaps derived from the 
Latin Machiiia : yet the Romans do not appear to have used in their wars so formidable and 
complicated an engine, as this is described to have been in the writers of the dark ages. It 
■was the capital machine of the wars of those ages. Du Cange in his Constantinopolis 
Christiana mentions a vast edifice at Constantinople in wliich the machines of war were 
kept. p. xss. 8 Mill. 


Foure saylcs were tlierto all ncwc Yclowe and grenc rede and blewe, 
With canvas i laydc all aboutc Full costly within and withoutc, 

And all within fu'l of fyre Of torches made of wcxe clerc, 

Overth wart and endlonge, 
With spryngelles ^ of fyre they dyde honde, 
Grounde they neyther corne ne good, 
But robbed as thei were wood ; Out of their eyen cam red blode^. 
Before the trough one ther stode That all in blode was begone 
Such another was never none And homes he had upon his hedc 

The Sarasyns of hym had grete drede^. 

The last circumstance recalls a fiend-like appearance drawn by 
Shakespeare; in which, exclusive of the application, he has converted 
ideas of deformity into the true sublime, and rendered an image ter- 
rible, which in other hands would have probably been ridiculous. 

Methought his eyes 

Were two full moons, he had a thousand noses, 
Horn's whelk'd and wav'd like the enridged sea. 
It was some fiend. [King Lear, iv. vi.] 

At the touch of this powerful magician, to speak in Milton's language, 
' The griesly terror grows tenfold more dreadful and deform.' 

The moving castles described by our minstrell, which seem to be so 
many fabrics of romance, but are founded in real history, afforded 
suitable materials for poets who deal in the marvellous. Accordingly 
they could not escape the fabling genius of Tasso, who has made them 
instruments of enchantment, and accommodated them, with great pro- 
priety, to the operations of infernal spirits. 

At the siege of Babylon, the soldan Saladin sends king Richard 
a horse. The messenger says, 

1 Espringalles, Fr. engines. Du Cange, Gl. Lat. Spingarda, Quadrellus. And Not. 
Joinv p. 78. Perhaps he means pellets of tow dipped in the Grecian fire, which sometimes 
were thrown from a sort of mortar. Joinville says, that the Greek fire thrown from a mortar 
looked like a huge dragon flying through the air, and that at midnight the flashes of it illu- 
minated the christian camp, as if it had been broad day. When Louis's army was encamped 
on the banks of the Thanis in Egypt, says the same curious historian, about the year 1240, 
they erected twoc/ia^s cltatcils, or covered galleries, to shelter their workmen, and at the end 
of them two befrois, or vast moveable wooden towers, full of cross-bow men who kept a con- 
tinual discharge on the opposite shore. Besides eighteen other new-invented engines for 
throwing stones and bolts. But in one night, the deluge of Greek fire ejected from the Sara- 
cen camp utterly destroyed these enormous machines. This was a common disaster ; but 
Joinville says that his pious monarch sometimes averted the danger, by prostrating himself on 
the ground, and invoking our Saviour with the appellation oi Beau Sire. p. 37. 
- This device is thus related by Robert of Brunne, chron. p. 175. 176. 

Richard als suithe did raise his cngyns 

The Inglis wer than blylhe, Normans and PetCN'yns : 

In bargeis and galeis he set mylnes to go, 

The sailes, as men sais, som were blak and bio, 

Som were rede and grenc, the vvynde about them blewe. 

The stones were of Rynes, the noyse dreadfull and grete 

It affraicd the Sarazins, as Icven the fyre out schete. 

The noise wasunride, &c. 
Ryntt is the river Rhine, whose shores or bottom supplied the stones shot from their military 
engines. The Normans, a barbarous people, appear to have used machines of immense and 
very artihcial construction at the scige of Paris in 885. See the last note. And Vit. Saladin. 
per Schultcns, p. 135. 141. 1O7. &c. '-* Sign, ut supr. 



* Thou sayst thy God is full of myght : 

* Wilt thou graunte with spere and shelde, 
*To detryve the ryght in the felde, 

* With helme, haubcrke, and brondes bryght, 

* On stronge stedes gode and lyght, 
'Whether ben of more power, 
*Thy God almight or Jupiter? 
*And he sent me to say this 

* Yf thou wylt have an hors of his, 

' In all the londes that thou hast gone 

* Suche ne thou sawest never none : 

* Favell of Sypres, ne Lyard of Prys\ 
*Ben not at ned as he ys; 

'And yf thou wylte, this same daye, 

' He shall be brought the to assaye.' 

Rycharde answered, ' Thou sayest well, 

' Suche an horse, by saynt Myghell, 

' I wolde have to ryde upon. — 

' Bydde hym sende that hors to me, 
■^ And I shall assaye what they be, ' Yf he be trusti, withoute sayle, 

' I kepe none other to me in batayle.' 
The messengers tho home wente, And told the sowdan in presente, 

That Rycharde in the field wolde come hym unto : 

The ryche sowdan bade to com hym unto 

A noble clerke that could well conjoure, 

That was a mayster nygromansoure^ : 

He commaunded, as I you telle, 

Thorugh the fende"s myght of helle. 
Two strong fendes of the ayre In lykenes of two stedes fayre 

Both lyke in hewe and here, As men sayd that ther were : 

No man sawe never none syche That was one was a m.are iliche. 

That other a colte, a noble stede, Where that he wer in ony mede, 

1 Horses belonj^ng to RicTiard, ' Favel of Cyprus, and Lyard of Paris.' Robert de Crunne 
mentions one of these horses, which he calls Phanuel. Chron. p. 175. 
Sithen at Japhet was slayn Phanuel his stede, 
The Romans telles grec pas ther of hisdouhty dede. 
This is our romance, viz. Sign. Q. iii. 

To hym gadered every chone And slewe Favell under hym, 

Tho was Richard wroth and grym. 
This was at the siege of Jasse, as it is here called. Favell of Cyprus is again mentioned. 
Sign. O. ii. 

Favell of Cj-pnis is forth set And in the sadell he hym sett. 

Robert of Brunne says that Saladin's brother sent king Richard a horse. Chron. p. 194. 
He sent to king Richard a stede for curtcisie 
On of the best reward that was in paemie. 
'In the wardrobe. roll of prince Edward, afterwards king Edward II. under the year 1273, 
the masters of the horse render their accounts for horses purchased, specifying the colours, 
and prices with the greatest accuracy. One of them is called, ' Unus eqws favelles cum 
Stella in frontc, &c.' Heame's Joanx. de Trokelowe. Prxf p. xxvi. Here/rtrW/«.s is 
interpreted by Hearne to h^hoticycoiiib. I suppose he undei-stands a dappled or roan horse. 
But F.WEi.LUS, evidently an adjective, is barbarous" Ladn for falvus, or fnlvus, a dun or 
light ycUov;, a word often used to express the colour of horses and hawks. Carpenticr, 
SirppL. Du Fresne Lat. Gloss. V. Favellus. torn. ii. p. 370. It is hence that king 
Richard's horse is called favel. From which word Phanuel, in Robert dc Brunne is a 
corruption. ~ Nccromaucer. 


(Were the knyght ^ never so bolclc,) Whan the mare nye ^ wolde, 
(That hym sholdc hokle aycnst his wylle,) 
But soone he -wolde go her tylle^, 
And kneel downe and souke * his dame, 
Thercwhyle the sowdan with shame 
Sholdc kyngc Rychard quelle, All this an aungcll gan him telle, 

That to hym came aboute mydnight, 
' Awake, he sayd, goddis knyght : 

* I^.Iy lorde^ doth the to onderstonde 

' That the shal com on hors to londe, 
' Fayre it is, of body ipyght, To betray the if the sowdan myglit ; 
' On hym to ryde have thou no dred'i 

* For he thee helpe shall at nede.' 

The angel then gives king Richard several directions about managing 
this infernal horse, and a general engagement ensuing, between the 
Christian and Saracen armies'', 

He lepte on hors whan it was lyght; 

Or he in his sadel did lepc 

Of many thynges he toke kcpe. — 

His men brought hem that he had, 

A square tree of fourty fete, 

Before his sadell anone he it sete 

Faste. that they should it brase, &c. 

Hymself was richely begone, 

From the creste lyght to the tone'', 
He was covered wondersly welc All with splentes of good stele. 

And ther above an hauberke. A shafte he had of trusty werke. 

Upon his shoulders a shelde of stele, 

With the lybardcs ^ painted wele ; 

And helme he had of ryche entayle, 

Trusty and trewe was his ventayle : 
Upon his creste a dove whyte Sygnyfycaune of the holy sprite, 

Upon a cross the dove stode Of gold iwrought ryche and gode, 

God" hymself Mary and Johon As he was done the rode iipon^**. 
Insygnyfycaunceforwhom he faught, The spere hcd forgat he nauht, 
Upon his shaft he wolde it have Goddis name theron was grave 

Now herken what othe he sware, 

Or thay to the battayle went there : 

' Yf it were so, that Rycharde myght 

' Slee the sowdan in feldc with fyght, 
'At our wylle everychone ' He and his shold gone 

' In to the cyte of Babylone ; ' And the kynge of Masydoyne 

1 His rider. SNcIgk 3 Go to her. 4 Suck. 5 God. 

6 In which tlic Sar.iccr. iine extended twelve miles in icngth, and 

Tlic groundc myght unnclhc be scnc For btyght armure and spercs kene. 

I.ykc as siiowe lyeth on the mounta>mcs So were fulfyllcd hylles and playnes 

Wiih haiilicrkes brj'glit and liarneys clere Of trompcttcsand tabourerc. 

7 From head to foot. 8 Leopards. 9 Our Saviour. 

i"*As he died upon the cross.' So in an old fragment- cited by Hearne, Gloss. RoTj, p. C^4. 

i'yncd under Ponce Pilat, Don on the rod after that. 


* He sholde have tmder his lionde ' And yf the sowdan of that ionde 

* Myght slee Rycharde in the felde With swerde or spere under sheldc, 
' That Crysten men sholde go ' Out of that Ionde for ever mo, 

' And the Sarasyns theyr wyll in wolde.' 

Quod -kynge Rycharde, ' Therto I holde, 

' Therto my glove, as I am knyght.' 

They be armyd and redy dyght : 

Kynge Rycharde to his sadcll dyde lepe, 

Certes, who that wolde take kepe 
To se that fyght it were fayre ; Ther stedes ranne with grete ayre^ 

Al so hard as thei myght dyre^, After theyr fete sprange out fyre : 

Taboursandtrompettes ganblowe : Ther men myght se in a throwe 
HowkyngeRychard that nobleman, Encountred with the sowdan, 
The chefe was tolde of Damas^. His truste upon his mare was, 

And tharfor, as the boke us telles'*, 

Hys crouper henge full of belles^, 

And his peytrelF and hys'' arsowne 

Thre myle men myght here the sowne. 

His mare nyhed, his belles dyd rj-nge, 

For grete pryde, withoute lesynge, 
A faucon brode^ in honde he bare, For he thoght he wolde thare 

Have slayne Rycharde with treasovvne 
Whan his colte sholde knele downe As a colte sholde souk his dame, 

And he was ware of that shame. 

His eres^ with waxe were stopped faste, 

Therefore Rycharde was not agaste, 

He stroke the stede that under hym wente, 

And gave the Sowdan his deth with a dente ; 
In his shelde verament Was paynted a serpent, 

Wyth the spere that Rycharde helde 

He bare hym thorugh under hys sheldc, 

Non of hys armure myght hym laste, 

Brydell and peytrell al to braste, 

Hys gyrthes and hys steropes also 

Hys mare to grounde wente tho ; 

1 Ire. " Dare. 

s I do not understand tliis. He seems to mean the Sultan of Damas, or Damascus. See 
Du Cange, Joinv. p. 87. ■* The French romance. 

5 Anciently no person seems to have been gallantly equipped on horseback, unless the 
horse's bridle or some other part of the furniture, was stuck full of small bells. Vincent of . 
Beauvais, who wrote about 1264, censures this piece of pride in the knights templars. They 
have, he says, bridles embroidered, or gilded, or adorned with silver, ' Atique in pectoralibus 
CA.MTANULAS iNFixAs MAGNUM emittentes SONITUM, ad gloriam eomm et decorem.' Hist, 
lib. x.\.x. cap. 85. Wicliffe, in his Tkialoge, inveighs against the priests for their fair hors, 

' and jolly and gay sadelcs, and bridles ringiiighy the way, &c.' Lewis's WicKLiFFK.p. 121. 
And hence Chaucer may be illustrated, who thus describes the state of a monk on horseback. 
Prol. Cant. v. 170. 

Aud when he rode, men might his bridel here 

GiNGLiNG in a whistling wind as clere, 

And eke as lowde, as doth the chapcU bell. 
That is, because his horse's bridle or trappings were strung with bells. 

6 "The breast-plate, or breast-band of a horse. Poitral,V\-. PectoraIe,'L^i. Thus Chaucsr 
of the Chanon's horse. Chan. Yon. Proll. v. 575. Urr. 

About the p.'VYNTRELl. stoodc the some ful hie. 

2 The saddle-bow. ' Arccnarium extencellatum cum argento,' occurs in the wardrobe 
rolls, ab. an. 21 ad an. 25 Edw. iii. Membr. .\i. This word is not in Du Cange or hij 
supplement. ' 8 p. bird. 9 Ears. 


Maugre her heed, he made her seche 

The grounde, withoute more spcchc, 
Hys fccte towarde the fyrmament, Bihynde hym the spcrc outwent 

Thcr he fell dede on the grene, 

Rycharde smote the fende with spores^ kene, 
* And yn the name of the hoH goost 

He dr}-Yeth ynto the hcthen hoost, And as sone as he was come, 
Asonder he brake the sheltron-, And al that ever afore hym stode, 

Hors and man to the grounde yodc, Twenti fote on either syde, &c. 

Whan the kyng of Fraunce and hys men wyste 

That the mastry had the Crysten, 

They waxed bold, and gode herte toke 

Stedes bestrode, and shaftes shoke^. 
Richard arming himself is a curious Gothic picture. It is certainly 
a genuine picture, and drawn with some spirit ; as is the shock of the 
two necromantic steeds, and other parts of this description. The com- 
ba.t of Richard and the Soldan, on the event of which the christian 
army got possession of the city of Babylon, is probably the Duel of 
King Richard, painted on the wall of a chamber in the royal palace 
of Clarendon*. The Soldan is represented as meeting Richard with a 
hawk on his fist, to shew indifference, or a contempt of his adversary ; 
and that he came. rather prepared for the chace, than the combat. 
Indeed in the feudal times, and long afterwards, no gentleman appeared 
on horseback, unless going to battle, without a hawk on his fist. In the 
Tapestry of the Norman Conquest^ Harold is exhibited on horseback, 
with a hawk on his fist, and his dogs running before him, going on an 
embassy from king Edward the Confessor to William Duke of 
Normandy". Tabonr, a drum, a common accompaniment of war, is 
mentioned as one of the instruments of martial music in this battle 
with characteristical propriety. It was imported into the European 
armies from the Saracens in the holy war. The word is constantly 
■written tabour, not tambour, in Joinville's History of Saint Louis, 
and all the elder French romances. Joinville describes a superb bark 
or galley belonging to a Saracen chief, which he says was filled with 
cymbals, tabours, and Saracen horns". Jean d'Orronville, an old French 

1 Spurs. 

- Schillron. I believe soldiers drawn up in a circle. Rob. de Brunne uses it in describing 
the battle of Fowkirke, Chron. p. 305. 

Thar Scheltron sone was shad with Inglis that wer gode. 
Shad is separated. 

s Signal. M. ii. 4 See supr. p. 114. 

5 The hawk on the fist was a mark of great nobility. We frequently find it, upon antique 
sc.ils and miniatures, attributed to persons of both se.ves. So sacred was this bird esteemed 
that it was forbidden in a code of Charlemagne's laws, for any one to give his hawk or his 
.sword as part of his ransom. ' In compositionein Wirigitdi volmnus iit ca doiter que in lege 
' ca/ifi>ie>Uiire.rcep/o acc'ipilTC clsp3.ih!i.' Lindcbrog. Cod. Leg. Antiq. p. 895. In the year 
1337, the bishop of Ely e.xcommunicatcd certain persons for stealing a hawk, sitting on her 
perch, in the cloisters of the abbey of Bermondsey in Southwark. This piece of sacrilege, in- 
deed, wa.s committed during service-time in the choir : and the hawk was the property of the 
bishop. Regi'-tr. Adami Orleton. Episc. VVinton. fol. 56. b. In Archiv. Winton. In Do.MEiS- 
DEt-nooK, a Hawk's Airy, Aira Accipitris, is sometimes returned amongst the most valuable 
articirs c.f property. 

* Histoir. dc S. Loys, p. 30. The original has 'Cors Sarazinois.' Also p. 52. 56. And 
Du Cangc's Notes, p. 61. 

ii8 ign:drance of geography fatal to crusading armies. 

clironiclcr of the life of Louis duke of Bourbon, relates, tlaat the king' 
of France, the king of Thrasimere, and the king of Bugie landed in 
Africa, according to their custom, with cymbals, kettle drums, tabours^, 
and whistles-. Babylon, here said to be besieged by king Richard, 
and so frequently mentioned by the romance writers and the chroniclers 
of the crusades, is Cairo or Bagdat. Cairo and Bagdat, cities of recent 
foundation, were perpetually confounded with Babylon, which had been 
destroyed many centuries before, and was situated at a considerable 
distance from either. Not the least enquiry was made in the dark 
ages concerning the time situation of places, or the disposition of the 
country in Palestine, although the theatre of so important a war ; and 
to this neglect was owing, in a great measure, the signal defeats and 
calamitous distresses of the christian adventurers, whose numerous 
armies, destitute of information, and cut off from eveiy resource, 
perished amidst unknown mountains, and impracticable wastes. 
Geography at this time had been but little cultivated. It had been 
studied only from the ancients : as if the face of the earth, and the 
political state of nations, had not, since the time of those writers, 
undergone any changes or revolutions. 

So formidable a champion was king Richard against the infidels, 
and so terrible the remembrance of his valour in the holy war, that the 
Saracens and Turks used to c{uiet their froward children only by re- 
peating his name. Joinville is the only writer who records this 
anecdote. He adds another of the same sort. When the Saracens 
were I'iding, and their horses started at any unusual object, ' ils disoient 
' a Icurs chevaulx en les picqucnt de 1' esperon, ct cuidcs iu que ce soit le 
' Roy Richart^ ?' It is extraordinary, that these circumstances 
should have escaped Malmesbury, Matthew Paris, Benedict, Longtoft, 
and the rest of our old historians, who have exaggerated the character 
of this redoubted hero, by relating many particulars more likely to be 
fabulous, and certainly less expressive of his prcvess. 


The romance of Sir Guy, which is enumerated by Chaucer among^ 
the 'Romances of Pris,' affords^ the following fiction, not uncommon 
indeed in pieces of this sort, concerning the redemption of a knight 

1 1 cannot find Clais, the word that follows, in the French dictionaries. But perhaps it 
answers to our old English Glee. Du Cange, Gl. Lat. V. Classicum. 

2 Cap. 76. Nacaires, is here the word for kettle-drums. Du Cange, ubi supr. p. S9- Who 
also from au old roll de la chambra aes Comptes de Pans recites, among the houshold 
musicians of a French nobleman, ' Menestrel du Cor Sarazmois,' ib. p. 60. This instrument 
is not uncommon in the French romances. 

■5 Hist, dc S. Loyis, p. 16. 104. Who had it from a French MSS. chronicle of the holy 
war. Du Cange's Notes, p. 45. 


from a long captivity, whose prison was inaccessible, unknown, and 
enchanted^ His name is Amis of the Mountain. 
Here besydc an Elfish knyhte^ Has taken my lordc in fyghte, 

And hath him ledde with him away In the Fayry^, Syr, permafay. 

Was Amis, quoth Heraude, your husbond? 

A doughtyer knygte was none in londe. 
Then told Heraude to Raynbornc, How he loved his father Guyon : 

Then sayd Raynburne, for thy sake, 

To morrow I shall the way take, 

And nevermore come agayne, 

Tyll 1 bring Amys of the Mountayne. 

Raynborne rose on the morrow erly, 

And armed hym full richely. — 

Raynborne rode tyll it was noone, 

Tyll he came to a rocke of stone ; 

Thcr he founde a strong gate, 

He blisscd hym, and rode in thereat. 

He rode half a myle the waie. 

He saw no light that came out of dale. 

Then cam he to a watir brode, 

Never man ovir suche a one rode. 

Within he saw a place greene 

Suche one had he never erst scene. 

Within that place there was a pallaice, 

Closed with walles of heathenesse* ; 

The walles thereof were of cristall. 

And the sommcrs of corralP. 

1 The Romance of Sir Guy is a considerable volume in quarto. My edition is without date, 
'Imprinted at London in Lotliburjc by Wyllyani Copland,' with rude wooden cuts. It runs 
to Sign. S. ii. It seems to be older than tlie Sqiiyr cf lozuc decree , in which it is quoted. Sign. 
a. iiL 

Or else so bolde in chivalrio As was syr Gawayne or syr Gie. 

The two best MSS. of this romance are at Cambridge. MSS. Bibl. Publ. Mor. 6go. 33. And 
MSS. Coll. Caii, A. 8. 

- In Chaucer's Talc of the C7utno>t Yeinan, chemistry is termed an Elfish art, that is, 
taught or conducted by Spirits. This is an Ajrabian idea. Chan. Yem. T. p. 122. v. 772, 
Urry's edit. 

Whan we be there as wc shall exercise Our elvisiie craft. - . - - - 

Again, ibid. v. 363. 

Though he sit at his bol:e both dale and night. 
In Icrning of this elvish nice lore. 
3 ' Into the land of Fairy, into the region of Spirits.' 

* 'Walls built by Pagans or Saracens. Walls built by magic' Chaucer, in a verse taken' 
from Syr Bevy s, [Sign. a. ii.] says that his knight had travelled, 

As well in Christendom as in Hkthness. 
Prol. p. 2. V. 49. And in Syr Eglamoiir of Artcys, Sign. E. ii. 

Eglamour sayd to hym yeys, I ara come out of hethenes. 

Syr Bevys of Ilamptoim. Sign. b. iii. 

They found shippers more and Icsse Of panimcs and oi hctlicnesse. 

Also, Sign. C. i. 

The first dede withouten lesse That Bevys dyd in hethcnesse. 

8 I do not nerfeclly understand the materials of tliis fairy palace. 

The walls thereof were of crislall And the somers of cora//. 

Bnt Chaucer mentions corall'm his temple of Diana. Knightes Tale, v. 1912. 

And northward, in a tourct on the wall, Of alabastre white, and red corall. 

. , An oratorie riche for to see. 

Carpcnticr cites a passage from the romance De Troycs, in which a chamber of alabaster is 
mentioned. Sum'l. L.vr. Gloss. Du Cange, tom. i. p. 136. 

r.n cclle chambrc n'oit noicnz, iJe chaux, d'areine, de cimcnz, 

Enduit, ni moillcrons, ni cmplaistre. Tot cnlierc sut alambastre. 


Raynbome had grete dout to passe, 

The watir so depe and brode was : 
And at the laste his steede leepe Into the broad watir deepe. 

Thyrty fadom he sanke adowne, 

Then cleped^ he to god Raynbornc. 

God hym help, his steede was goode. 

And bure hym ovir that hydious floode. 

To the pallaice he yrode- anone, 

And lyghted downe of his steede full soone. 

Through many a chamber yede Raynborne, 

A knyghte he found in dongeon. 

Raynborne grete hym as a knyght courtoise, 

Who owetli, he said, this fayre pallaice? 

That knyght answered hym, yt is noght, 

He oweth it that me hither broght. 

Thou art, quod Raynburne, in feeble plight, 

Tell me thy name, he sayd, syr knight : 

That knyghte sayd to hym agayne, 

My name is Amys of the Mountayne. 
The lord is an Elvish man That me into thys pryson wan. 

Arte thou Amys, than sayde Raynborne, 

Of the Mountaynes the bold barrone ? 
In grete perill I have gone. To seke thee in this rocke of stone. 

But blissedbe God now have I thee Thou shalt go home with mc. 

Let be, sayd Amys of the Mountayne, 

Great wonder I have of thee certayne ; 
How that thou hytliur wan : For syth this world fyrst began 

No man hyther come ne myghte, 

Without leave of the Elvish knyghte. 

Me with thee thou mayest not Icde, &c.^ 
Afterwards, the Knight of the Mountain directs Raynburne to find a 
wonderful sword which hung in the hall of the palace. With this 
weapon Raynburne attacks and conquers the Elvish knight ; who buys 
his life, on condition of conducting his conqueror over the perilous 
ford, or lake, above described, and of delivering all the captives con- 
fined in his secret and impregnable dungeon. 

Guyon's expedition into the Soldan's camp, an idea furnished by the 
crusades, is drawn with great strength and simplicity. 

Guy asked his armes anone, Hosen of yron Guy did upon : 

In hys hawberke Guy hym clad, He drad no stroke whyle he it had. 
Upon hys head hys helme he cast. And hasted hym to rydc full fast. 
A syrcle* of gold thereon stoode,- The emperarour had none so goode ; 
Aboute the syrcle for the nones Were sett many precyous stones. 

Above he had a coatc armour wyde ; 

Hys sword he toke by hys syde : 
And lept upon his stcde anone, Styrropcwith footetouchedhenone. 
Guy rode forth without boste, Alone to the Soudan's hoste : 

Guy saw all that countrie Full of tentes and pavylyons bee : 

1 Called. - ^Vcnt. S Sign. K k. lii. scp. 4 Circle. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 121 

On the pavylyon of the Soudone Stood a carbuncle-stone : 
Guy wist therebie it was the Soudoncs 
And drew hym thyther for the nones, 
Alt the meete^ he founde the Soudone, 
And hys barrens everychone, 

And tenne kynges aboute hym, All they were stout and grymme: 
Guy rode forth, and spake no worde, 
Tyll he cam to the Soudan's borde^; 
He ne rough t^ with whom he mette, 
But on thys w^se the Soudan he grctte, 
' God's curse have thou and thyne 
' And tho that leve* on Apolinc.' 
Than sayd the Soudan, ' What art thou 

* That thus prowdlic speakest now? 

* Yet found I never man certayne 

' That suche wordes durst me sayne.' 
Guy sayd, ' So God me save from hell, 
' ■My ryght nam I shall thee tell, 
' Guy of Warwicke my name is.' 
Than sayd the Sowdan ywis, 
' Arte thou the bolde knyght Guyon, 

* That art here in my pavylyon ? 
' Thou fluest my cosyn Coldran 

' Of allSarasyns the boldest man, &c.* 

I will add Guy's combat with the Danish giant Colbrond, as it is 

1 At dinner. 2 Table. Chaucer, Sq. T. 105. 

And up he rideth to the hie borde. 
Chaucer says that his knight had often 'began tlte iJ^inaf above in all nations.' Prol. 52- The 
term of chivalry, to begin the board, is to be placed in the uppermost seat of the hall. Anstis, 
Ord. Gart. i. App. p. xv. ' the earl of Surrey began the borde in presence : the earl of Arundel 
'washed with him, and satt both at the first messe. . . . Began the borde at the chamber's 
'end.' i.e. sat at the head of that table which was at the end of the chamber. This was at 
Windsor, a.d. 1519. In Syr Eglanwur qf[Artoys, we have to begin the dese, which is the 
same thing. 

Lordes in halle wer sette And waytes blett-e to the mete, — 

The two knyghtes the dese begati. 
Sign. D. iii. Chaucer, Squ. T. ^g. And Kn. T. 2002. In a celebration of the feast of 
Christmas at Greenwich, in the year 14S8, we have, 'The due of Bcdeford beganne the table 
'on the right side of the hall, and next untoo hym was the lorde Dawbencye, &c.' That is. 
He sate at the head 0/ the table. Lelaiid. Coll. iii. 237. edit. 1770. To begin the bourd is 
to begin the touTytament. Lydgate, Chron. Troy, B. ii. ch. 14. 
The grete justcs, bordes, or tournay. 

1 will here take occasion to correct Hearne's explanation of the word Bourdcr in Bninne's 
ChroD. p. 204. 

A knygt a bourdour king Richard hade 
A douty man in stoure his name was Markade. 
Bourdour, says Heame, is boarder, pensioner. But the true meaning is, a Wag, an arch 
fellow, for he is here introduced putting a joke on the king of France. Bourde is jest, trick, 
from the French. See above, p. 70. Chauc. Gam. 1974. and Non. Urr. 2294. Knyghton 
mcniions a favourite in tho court of England who could procure any grant from the king 
burdarido. Du Cange, Not. Joinv. p. 116. Who adds, ' De la vicnt le mot do Bourdeurs 

qui estoicnt ccs farceurs ou plaisantins qui divcrtissoient Ics princes par le recit dcs fables et 
^dcs hisioircs dcs Romans. Aucuns cstiment que ce mot vient dcs bchotirds qui cstoit une 

espccc dcs 'Journoi-s.' Also Diss. Joinv. p. 174. 

* Cared, v.-ilucd. Chaucer, Rom. R. 1873. 

I ne rought of dcth nc of life. 

* Those who believe. 5 Sign. Q. iii. 


touched with great spirit, and may serve to ilkistrate some preceding 
hints concerning this part of our hero's history. 

Then came Colbronde forthe anone, 

On foote, for horse could bare hym none. 
For when he was in armure dight Fower horse ne bare hym might. 
A man had ynough to done To bere hym hys wepon. 

Then Guy rode to Colbronde, On hys stede ful wele rennede^ : 

Colbronde ,smote Guy in the fielde 

In the middest of Syr Guyes shelde ; 

Through Guyes hawberk that stroke went 

And for no maner thyng it withstent^ 

In two yt share^ Guyes stedes body 

And fell to ground hastily. 

Guy upstert as an eger lyoune, 

And drue hys gode sworde browne : 
To Colbronde he let it flye, But he might not reche so hye. 

On hys shoulder the stroke fell downe 

Through all hys aiTnure share Guyon*. 
Into the bodie a wound untyde That the red blude gan oute glyde. 
Colbronde was wroth of that rap, He thought to give Guy a knap. 

He smote Guy on the helme bryght 

That out sprang the fyre lyght. 

Guy smote Colbronde agayne. 

Through shielde and armure certayne. 

He made his swerde for to glyde 

Into his bodie a wound ryht wyde. 
So smart came Guyes bronde That it braste in hys hond. 

The romance of the SQUIRE OF Low DEGREE, who loved the king's 
daughter of Hungary^, is alluded to by Chaucer in the Rime of Sir 
Topas^. The princess is thus represented in her closet, adorned with 
painted glass, listening to the Squire's complaint''. 

That ladi herde hys mournyng alle, Ryght undir the chambre wallc : 
In her oryall^ there she was, Closyd well with royall glas, 

Fulfyllyd yt was with ymagery. Every windowe by and by 

On eche syde had ther a gynne, 
Sperde^ with manie a dyverspynne, 

1 Running. 2 ' Nothing could stop it.' 3 Divided. 

^ 'Guy cut through all the giant's armour.' 

5 It contains 3S pages in 4to. 'Imprinted at London by me Wyllyam Copland.' I have 
never seen it in MSS. 

<> Observations on the Fairy Queen, 1. §. iv. p. 139. 7 Sign. a. iii. 

8 An Oriel seems to have been a recess in a chamber, or hall, formed by the projection of 
a spacious bow-window from top to bottom. Rot. Pip. an. iS. Hen. iii. [a.d. 1234. J ' Et in 
'quadam capella pulchra et dpcenti facicnda ad caput Orioli camere regis in castro Herefordie, 
'de longitudine .\.y pedum.' This Oriel was at the end of the king's chamber, from which the 
new chapel was to begin. Again, in the castle of Kenihvorth. Rot. Pip. an ig. Hen. iiu 
[a.d. 1235.] ' Et in uno ,magno OrioUo pulchro et compctenti, ante ostium magne camere 
'regis in castro de Kenihvorth faciendo, vi/. xvii. \vd. per Brev. regis.' The etymologists 
have been puz2lcd to fmd the derivation of an oriel-window. A learned correspondent 
suggests, that Okiel is Hebrew for Lux ntea, or Dojiihius illuminatio mca. 

9 Closed, shut. In Pierce Plowman, of a blind man, ' unsparryd \i\s eine,' i.e. opened 
his eyes. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 123 

Anonc that ladie fayre and fre, Undyd a pynne of yvcre, 

And wyd the wj'ndowes she open set, 
The sunnc shonne yn at hir closet, 
In that arbre fayre and gaye 
She sawe where that squyre lay, &c. 
I am persuaded to transcribe the following passage, because it 
delineates in lively colours the fashionable diversions and usages of 
ancient times. The King of Hungary endeavours to comfort his 
daughter with these promises, after she had fallen into a deep and 
incurable melancholy from the supposed loss of her paramour. 
To morrow ye shall yn hilntyng fare ; 
And yede, my doughter, yn a chare, 
Yt shal be covered wyth velvette reede 
And clothes of fyne golde al about your hcede, 
With damaske whyte and asure blewe 
Well dyapcrti^ with lyllyes newe : 

1 Embroidered, Diversified. Chaucer of a bov/, Rom. R. v. 934. 

And it was painted wel and thwitten And ore al diaprcd, and written, &c. 

Thwitten i.s, twisted, wreatlied. Tlie following instance from Chaucer is more to our purpose. 
Knight's Tale, v. 2160. 

Upon a stede bay, trappid in stele, Coverid with cloth of gold diapridwAc. 

This term, which is partly heraldic, occurs in the Provisor's rolls of the Great-wardrobe, con- 
taining deliveries for furnishing rich habiliments, at tilts and tournaments, and other cere- 
monies. ' Et ad faciendum tria harnesia pro Rege, quorum duo de vclvetto albo operato cum 
' garteriis de blu ct (/;'«.?/ ri'S per totam campedinem cum wodehouses.' E.x Comp. J. Coke 
clerici, ProvLsor. Magn. Garderob. ab ann. xxi. Edw. iii. de 23 membranis. ad ann. xxiii. 
memb. x. I believe it properly signifies embroidering on a rich ground, as tissue, cloth of 
gold, &c. This is confirmed by Peacham. ' Di.\pering is a term in drawing. — It chiefly 
'serveth to counterfeit cloth of gold, silver, damask, brancht velvet camblet, &c.' Compl. 
Gent. p. 345. Anderson, in his History of Commerce, conjectures, that Diaper, a species of 
printed linen, took its name from the city of Vpres in Flanders, where it was first made, 
being originally called d'ipre. But that city, and others in Flanders, were no less famous for 
rich manufactures of stuff; and the word in question has better pretensions 10 such a de- 
rivation. Thus rich cloth embroidered with raised woric we called d'ipre, and from tlience 
diaper; and to do this, or any work like it, was called to diaper, from whence the participle. 
Sattin of Bruges, another city of Flanders, often occurs in inventories of monastic vestments, 
in the reign of Henrj' Vlli. : and the cities of Arras and Tours are celebrated for their 
tapestrj' in Spenser. All these cities, and others in their neighbourhood, became famous for 
this sort of workmanship befoi'e 1200. The Arinator of Edward III., who finishes all the 
costly apparatus for the shews above-mentioned, consisting, among other things, of variety 
of the most sumptuous and ornamented embroideries on velvet, sattin, tissue, &c. is John of 
Co'.ogn. Unless it be Colonia in Italy. Rotul. prasdict. memb. viii. memb. xiii, ' Qua; 
'omnia ordinata fucrunt per garderobarium competentem, de precepto ipsius Regis: et facta 
'et parata par manus Johis de Colonia, Armatoris ipsius domini nostri Regis.' Johannes de 
Slrawcsburgh [Stra.sburgh] is mentioned as broudator regis, i.e. of Richard II., in Anstis, 
Ord. Gart. 1. 55. Also, ii. 42. I will add a passage from Chaucer's IVi/e 0/ Bath, v. 450. 

Of cloth-making she had such a haunt. She passid them oi Ipre and of Gaunt. 

'Cloth of Gaunt.' i.e. Ghent, is mentioned in the Romaunt of the Rose, v. 574. Bruges was 
the chief mart for Indian commodities, about the thirteenth cgnlury. In tlie year 1318, five 
Venetian galexsscs, laden with Indian goods, arrived at this city, in order to dispose of their 
cargoes at the fair. L. Guic. De.scr. di Pacsi bass. p. 174. Silk manufacturers were intro- 
<luc>:d from the into Italy, before 1130. Gianon. Hist. Napl. xi. 7. The crusades much 
improved the commerce of the Italian states with the east in this article, and produced new 
artificers of their own. But to recur to the subject of this note. Diaper occurs among the 
rich .silks and slufis in the French Roiiian de la Rose, where it seems to signify Damask. 
V. 218C7. 

Samites, dyapres, camelols. 
I find it likewise in the Roman d' Alexandre, written about 1200. MSS. Codi. fol. i. b. col. 2. 

Dyapres d'Antioch, famis de Romanic, 
Here is also a proof that the Asiatic stufifs were at that time famous ; and probably Rotitanie 


Your pomelles shalbe ended with golde, 

Your chaynes enameled many a folde. 
Your mantell of ryche degre Purple palle and armyne Ire. 

Jennets of Spayne that ben so wyght 

Trapped to the ground with vch-et bryght 

Ye sliall have harpe, sautry, and songe, 

And other myrthes you amonge, 

Ye sliall have rumney, and malespine, 

Both ypocrasse and vernage wyne : 
Mountrese and wyne of Greke, Both algrade and despice eke ; 
Antioche and bastarde, Pyment^ also, and garnarde ; 

Wine of Greke, and muscadell, Boto clare, pyment, and rochell, 
The reed your stomake to defye And pottes of osey sett you bye. 

You shall have venyson ybake,- 

The best wylde fowle that may be take : 

A lese of harehound^ with you to strekCi 

An hart, and hynde; and other lyke, 

Ye shal be set at such a tryst 

is Romania. The word often occurs in old accounts of rich ecclesiastical vestments: Du 
Cange derives this word from the Italian diaspro, a jasper, a precious stone which shifts its 
colours. V. Di.^SPRUS. In Dugdale's Monasticon we have diasfcratus, diapered. ' Sandalia 
'cum caligis de rubeo sameto diasper.\to breudata cum imaginibus regum.' Tom. iii, 
314; And 321, 

1 Sometimes wnti&n pimeate . In the romance oi Syr Bcvys, a knight just going to repose, 
takes the usual draught oipimeate: which mi.\ed with spices is what the French romances 
call vin du coucJtcr, and for which an officer, called Espicier, was appointed in the old royal - 
houshold of France. Signat. m. iii. 

The knight and she to chamber went : 
\^i\X\ ^imcate and with spicery. When they had dronken the wyne. 

Carpentier, Suppl. Gloss. Lat. Du Cange, torn. iii. p: 842. So Chaucer, Leg. Dido, v. 183. 

The spicis parted, and the wine agon, Unto his chamber he is lad anon. 

Froissart says, among the delights of his youth, that he was happy to taste, 

Au couchier, pour mieul.v dormir, Especes, clairet, et rocelle. 

Mem. Lit. x. 665. Not. 4to. Lidgate of Tideus and Polimite in the palace of Adrastus at 
Thebes. Stor. Theb. p. 634. ed. Chauc. 1687. 

Gan anon repaire 

To her lodging in a ful stately toure ; Assigned to hem by the herbeiour. 

And aftir spicis plenty and the wine In cuppis grete wrought of gold ful fyne. 

Without tarrying to bedde straightes they gone, &c. 
Chaucer has it again, Squ. T. v. 311. p. 62. Urr. And Mill, T. v. 270. p. 26. 

He sent her piinent, methe, and spicid ale. 
Some orders of monks are enjoined to abstain from drinking /■i^moi/iaii or /iwotf. Yet it 
was a common refection in the monasteries. It is a drink made of wine, honey, and spices. 
' Thei ne could not meddell the geste of Bacchus to the clcrc honie ; that is to say, they could 
'not make ne//«f«i' no clarre.' Chaucer's Boeth. p. 371. a. Urr. Clarre is clarified wine. 
In French Clarey. Perhaps the same as piment, or hypocrass. Mem. Lit. viii. p. 674. 4to. 
Compare Chauc. Sh. T. v. 2579. Urr. Du Cange Gloss. Lat. V. Pigmentum. Species. 
And Suppl. Carp. And Mem. sur Tanc. Chevalier, i. p. 19. 48. I must add, that •Jriyfi.iv- 
Tiipios, or TifiivrapiBS, signified an Apothecary among the middle and lower Greeks. 
Du Can"-e, Gl. Gr. in Voc. i. 1167. .And ii: Append. Etymolog. Vocab. Ling. Gall. p. 301. 
col. I. In the register of the of Nivernois, under the year 1287, it is covenanted, that 
whenever the bishop shall celebrate mass in S. IVIary's abbey, the abbess shall present him 
with a peacook, and a cup of piment. Carpentier, ubi supr. vol. iii. p. 277. 

2 Chaucer says of the Frankelcin, Prol. p. 4. Urr. v. 345. 

Withoutiu hake Jiicte never was his house. 
And in this poem, Signat. B. iii. 

With birds in bread y bake. The tele the duck and drake. 

3 In a MSS. of Froissart full of paintings and illuminations, there is a representation of the 
grand entrance of Queen Isabel of England into Paris, in the year 1324. She is attended by 
a greyhound who has a flag, powdered with fleurs de lys, bound to his neck. Montfaucon 
Monum. Fr. ii. p. 234. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 12$ 

That hart and hynde shall come to you fyst, 
Voiir dcscase to dryve ye fro To here the bugles there yblowc. 
Homward thus shall ye ryde, On haukyng by the ryvers syde, 

With goshauke and with gentil fawcon 

With buglehorn and merlyon. 

When you come home your mcnie amonge, 

Ye shall have revell, daunces, and songe : 

Lytle chj'ldrcn, great and smale, 

Shall syng as dolh the nyghtyngale, 
Than shal ye go to your evensong, With tcnours and trebles among, 

Threscore of copes of damask bryght 

Full of perles they shalbe pyghte. — 
Your sensours shal be of golde Endent with asure manie a folde • 

Your quere nor organ songe shall want 

With countre note and dyscaunt 

The other halfe on orgayns playing, 

With yong chyldren ful fayn synging. 
Than shal ye go to your suppere And sytte in tentis in grene arbere, 

With clothe of arras pyght to the grounde, 

With saphyres set of dyamounde. — 

A hundred knyghtes truly tolde 

Shall plaie with bowles in alayes coldc. 
Your disease to drj've awaie To se the fisshes yn poles plaie. 

To a drawe bry^dge then shall ye, Thone halfe of stone, thother of tre. 
A barge shal meet you full ryht. With xxiiii ores ful bryght 

With troiTipettcs and with claryowne. 

The fresshe watir to rowe up and downe. 

Than shall you, doughter, aske the wyne 
Wyth spises that be gode and fyne Gentyllpottes with genger grene, 

Wyth dates and deynties you betweene. 

Fortie torches brenynge bright 

At your brjxlges to bring you lyght. 

Into youre chambre they shall you brynge 

W^yth muche myrthe and more lykynge. 

Your blankcttes shall be of fustyane, 

Your sheets shal be of cloths of rayne^ : 

J Qoath, or linen, of Rennes, a city in Brifany. Chaucer, Dr. v. 255. 
And many a pilowe, and every here 
Of clothe of raynes to slepe on softe. Him thare not node to turnin ofte. 

Tela de Keynes is mentioned among habits delivered to knights of the garter, 2 Rich. ii. 
Anstis, Ord. Gart. i. 55. Cloath of Rennes seems to have been the finest sort of linen. In 
the old MS.S. Mysteky, or religious comedy, of Mary Magdalene, written in 1512, a, one of the retainers to the groupe of the Seven Deadly Sins, is introduced with the 
following speech. 

Hof, Hof, Hof, a frj-sch new galaunt ! 

Ware of thryft, ley that a doune : 

What mene ye, syrr>'S, that I were a marchaunt, 

Because that I am new com to toun? 

With praty .... wold I faync round, 

I have a shert of reyiis with sieves pcncaunt, 

A lase of sylkc for my lady Constant 

I woU, or even, be shaven for to seme yong, &c. 
So also in Skcltoa's Magnificence, a Mor.-ility written much about the same time. f. xx. K 

Your skynne, that was wrapped in s/ieries of rayties, 

Nowe must be storm ybeten. 


Your liead-shete shal be of pery pyght^, 

Wyth dyamondes set and rubys bryght. 

Whan you are layd in bed so softe, 

A cage of golde shal hange alofte, 

Wythe longe peper fayre burning, 

And cloves that be swete smellyng, 

Frankinsense and olibanum, 

That whan ye slepe the taste may come 

And yf ye no rest can take 

All nyght mynstrels for you shall wake". 

Syr DeGORE is a romance perhaps belonging to the same period-'. 
After his education under a hermit, Sir Degore's first adventure is 
against a dragon. This horrible monster is marked with the hand 
of a master*. 

Degore went furth his waye, Through a forest half a daye : 

He herd no man, nor sawe none, Tyll yt past the hygh none, 
Then herde he grete strokes falle, That yt made grethnoyse with alle, 
Full sone he thoght that to se. To wetev/hat the strokes myght be: 

There was an erle, both stout and gaye, 

He was com ther that same daye, 

For to hunt for a dere or a do, 

But hys houndes were gone him fro. 

Then was ther a dragon grete and grymme, 

Full of fyre and also venymme, 

Wyth a wyde throte and tuskes grete, 

Uppon that knygte fast gan he bete. 

And as a lyon then was hys fecte, 

Hystayle was long, and full unmeete : 
Betwene hys head and hys tayle Was xxii fote withouten fayle ; 

Hys body was lyke a wyne tonne. 

He shone ful bryght agaynst the sunne : 

Hys eyen were bright as any glasse. 

His scales were hard as any brasse ; 
■ And thereto he was necked lyke a horse, 

He bare hys hed up wyth grete force : 

The breth of hys mouth that did out blow 

As yt had been a fyre on lowe. 
He was to loke on, as I you telle, As yt had bene a fiendc of helle. 
iMany a man he had shent, And many a horse he had rente. 

As the minstrel profession became a science, and the audience grew 
more civilized, refinements began to be studied, and the romantic poet 

1 'Inlaid with jewels.' Chaucer, Kn. T. v. 2938. p. 22. Urr. 

And then with cloth of gold and with pcrzc. 

And in numberless other places. 

- Sign. D. ii. seq. At the close of the romance it is said That the king, in the midst of a 
great feast which lasted forty days, created the squire king in his room; in the presence of his 
TWELVE LORDS. See what I have observed concerning the number twelve. 

3 It contains 32 pages in qto. Coloph. 'Thus cndcth the Tretyse of Syr Degore, im- 
'prj-nted by Willyam Copland.' There is another copy dated 1560. There is a MS3. of it 
among bishop IMore's at Cambridge, Bibl. Publ. 690. 36. Syr Degare. 

4 Sign. B. li. 

wahton's history of English poetry. 127 

sought to gain new attention, and to recommend his story, by giving it 
the advantage of a plan. Most of the old metrical romances are, from 
their nature, supposed to be incoherent rhapsodies. Yet many of them 
have a regular integrity, in which every part contributes to produce an 
intended end. Through various obstacles and difficulties one point is 
kept in view, till the final and general catastrophe is brought about by 
a pleasing and unexpected surprise. As a specimen of the rest, and as 
it lies in a narrow compass, I will develope the plan of the fable now 
before us, which preserves at least a coincidence of events, and an 
uniformity of design. 

A king's daughter of England, extremely beautiful, is solicited in 
marriage by numerous potentates of various kingdoms. The king her 
father vows, that of all these suitors, that champion alone shall win his 
daughter who can unhorse him at a tournament. This they all attempt, 
but in vain. The king every year assisted at an anniversary mass for 
the soul of his deceased queen, who was interred in an abbey at some 
distance from his castle. In the journey thither, the princess strays 
from her damsels in a solitary forest ; she is discovered by a knight 
in rich armour, who by many solicitations prevails over her chastity, 
and, at parting, gives her a sword without a point, which he charges 
her to keep safe ; together with a pair of gloves, which will fit no hands 
but her own^. At length she finds the road to her father's castle, where, 
after some time, to avoid discovery, she is secretly delivered of a bo)". 
Soon after the delivery, the princess having carefully placed the child 
in a cradle, with twenty pounds in gold, ten pounds in silver, the gloves 
given her by the strange knight, and a letter, consigns him to one of her 
maidens, who carries him by night, and leaves him in a wood, near a 
heiTnitage, which she discerned by the light of the moon. The hermit 
in the morning discovers the child ; reads the letter, by which it ap- 
pears that the gloves will fit no lady but the boy's mother, educates 
him till he is twenty years of age, and at parting gives him the gloves 
found with him in the cradle, telling him that they will fit no lacly but 
his own mother. The youth, who is called Degore, sets forward to 
seek adventures, and saves an earl from a terrible dragon, which he 
kills. The earl invites him to his palace, dubshim a knight, gives him 
a horse and armour, and offers him half his territory. Sir Degore 
refuses to accept this offer, unless the gloves, which he had received 
from his foster-father the hermit, will fit any lady of his court. All the 
ladies of the earl's court are called before him, and among the rest the 
carl's daughter, but upon trial the gloves will fit none of them. He 
therefore takes leave of the earl, proceeds on his adventures, and meets 
with a large train of knights ; he is informed that they were going to 

_ ^ Gloves were anciently a costly article of dress, and richly decorated. They were some- 
times adorned with precious stones. Rot. Pip. an. 53. Hen. iii. [a.d. 1267.] ' Et de i. pcctine 
^auncum Lipidibus prctioslsponderant. xliiii. ct iiifl'. ob. Et do ii. paribus chirothccarum 

cum LAl'iDiBUS.' This golden comb, set with jewels, realises the wonders of romance. 


tourney with the king of England, who had promised his daughter to 
that knight who could conquer him in single combat. They tell him 
of the many barons and earls whom the king had foiled in several 
trials. Sir Degore, however, enters the lists, overthrows the king, and 
obtains the princess. As the knight is a perfect stranger, she submits 
to her father's commands with much reluctance. He marries her ; but 
in the midst of the solemnities which preceded the consummation, 
recollects the gloves which the hermit had given him, and proposes to 
to make an experiment with them on the hands of his bride. The 
princess, on seeing the gloves, changed colour, claimed them for her 
own, and drew them on with the greatest ease. She declares to Sir 
Degore that she was his mother, and gives him an account of his 
birth : she told him that the knight his father gave her a pointless 
sword, which was to be delivered to no person but the son that should 
be born of their stolen embraces. Sir Degore draws the sword, and 
contemplates its breadth and length with wonder : is suddenly seized 
with a desire of finding out his father. He sets forward on this search, 
and on his way enters a castle, where he is entertained at supper by 
fifteen beautiful damsels. The lady of the castle invites him to her bed, 
but in vain ; and he is lulled asleep by the sound of a harp. Various 
artifices are used to divert him from his pursuit, and the lady even 
engages him to encounter a giant in her cause^. But Sir Degore 
rejects all her temptations, and pursues his journey. In a forest he 
meets a knight richly accoutred, who demands the reason why Sir 
Degore presumed to enter his forest without permission. A combat 
ensues. In the midst of the contest, the combatants being both 
• unhorsed, the strange knight observing the sword of his adversary not 
only to be remarkably long and broad, but without a point, begs a truce 
for a moment. He fits the sword to a point which he had always 
kept, and which had formerly broken off in an encounter with a giant ; 
and by this circumstance discovers Sir Degore to be his son. They 
both return into England, and Sir Degore's father is married to the 
princess his mother. 

The romance of Kyng ROBERT OF SiClLY begins and proceeds 

Here is of kyng Robert of Cicyle. Hou pride dude biiii beguile. 

Princes proude that beth in pres, I wol ou tell thing not lees. 

In Cisyle was a noble kyng, . Faire an strongand sumdele zyng^; 

He hadde a broder in greete Roomc, 

Pope of al cristendome ; 

1 All the romances have such an obstacle as this. They have all an enchantress, whj" de- 
tains the knight from his quest by objects of pleasure : and who is nothing more than the 
Calypso of Homer, the Dido of Virgil, and the Armida of Tasso. 

- MSS. Vernon, ut supr. Bibl. Bodl. f. 299. It is also in Caius College Camb. MSS. Uaff. 
E. 147. 4. And Bibl. Bubl. Cambr. MSS. More, C90. 35. Aiid Brit. Mus. MSS. Harl. 525. a. 
f. 35. Cod. membran. Never printed. 3 Young. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 129 

Another he hadde in Alcmayne, 

An emperour that Sarazins wrougte payne. 

The kynge was hete^ kynge Robert 

Never mon ne wviste him ferte, 
He was kyng of great honour Ffor that he was conquerour : 

In al the worlde nas his peer, Kyng ne prince, far ne neer : 

And, for he was of chivahie flour. His broder was made emperour : 
His oder broder, godes vikere. Pope of Rome, as I seide ere ; 

The pope was hote pope Urban, He was goode to god and man : 

The emperour was hote Valemounde, 

A stronger warreoure nas non founde, 
After his brother of Cisyle, Of whom that I schal telle awhyle. 

The kynge yhoughte he hadde no peer 

In al the world, far no ne>er. 
And in his yougt he hadde pryde Ffor he was nounpere in uche syde, 
At midsomer a seynt Jones niht. The king to churche com ful riht, 

Ffor to heren his eveii-song ; 

Him thoughte he dwelled ther ful long. 

He thouhte more in worldes honour 

Than in Crist our saveour : 
In Magnificat- he herde a vers, He made a clerke het him rehers, 

In language of his own tonge. 

In Latyn he nuste^ what heo songe ; 
The vers was this I tell ye, ' Deposuit potentes de scde 

* Et exaltavit humiles,' This was the vers withouten les 
The clerke seide anone righte, ' Sire suche is godes mihte, 

' That he make heyge lowe, 

' And lowe heyge, in luytell throwe ; 

* God may do, withoute lyge*, ' His wil in twenkling of an eige^, 
The kynge seide, with hert unstabl ' All yor song is fals and fable : 
' What man hath such power ' Me to bringe lowe in daunger ? 

* I am flourc of chivalr>'e, ' Myn enemys I may distruye : 

* No man lyveth in no londe ' That may me withstonde. 

' Then is this a song of noht.' 

' This erreur he hadde in thought. 

And in his thought a sleep him tok, 

In his pulput", as seith the boke. 
Whan that evensong was al don, A kyng i lyk hem out gon 
And all men with hem wende, Kyng Roberd Icfte oute of mynde^. 

The newe* kyng was, as I yow telle, 

Godes aungell his pruide to felle. 
The aungell in hall joye made And all men of hym weore glade. 

The kynge wakede that laye in churche, 

His men he thouhte wo to werche ; 
Ffor he was left ther alon. And dark niht hym fel upon, 

He gan crie after his men, Ther nas non that spak agen. 

But the sextune atten ende Of the churche him gan wende", 

1 Namcfi. 2 The hymn so called. ^ l^etvist Knew not. 

^ Lie. S Eye. " Stall, or seat. 

' A king like him went out of the chapel, and all the company with him ; while the real 
king Robert was forgotten and left behind. 8 Supposed. » Went to hira. 


And saide, ' What dost thou nouth here, 

'Thou falls thef, thou losenger? 
'Thou art her with felenye ' Holy chirche to robby, ccc* 

The kyng bigon to renne out faste ; 
As a man that was wood, At his paleys gate he stood, 

And hail the porter gadelyng^. And bad him come in higing^ : 

The porter seide, 'Who clepeth^ so?' 
He answerde, 'Anone the, 'Thou schalt witen ar I go; 

'Thi kyng I am thou schalt knowe: 

' In prisoun thou schall ligge lowe, 
' And ben an hanged and to drawe ' As a traytour bi the lawe, 

' You schal v/el witen I am kynge, &c.' 

When admitted, he is brought into the hall ; where the angel, who had 
assumed his place, makes him the fool of the hall, and cloathes him 
in a fool's coat. He is then sent out to lie with the dogs ; in which situa- 
tion he envies the condition of those dogs, which in great multitudes 
were permitted to remain in the royal hall. At length the emperor 
Valemounde sends letters to his brother king Robert, inviting him to 
visit, with himself, their brother the pope at Rome. The angel, who 
personates king Robert, welcomes the messengers, and cloathes them 
in the richest apparel, such as could not be made in the world. 

The aungell welcomede the messagers, 

And gaf them clothes riche of pers*, 
Ffurred al with ermyne, In crystendone is non so fyne; 

And all was chouched midde perre^, 

Better was non in cristante : 

Such clothe, and hit werre to dihte, 

Al cristendom hit make ne mihte, 

Of that wondrede al that londe, 

How that clothe was wTougt with honde, 

Where such cloth was to selle, 

He ho hit made couthe no men telle. 

The messengers w.ent with the kynge" 

To grete Rome, withoute lettynge ; 
The Fool Robert also went. Clothed in lodly'' garnement, 

With ffoxes tayles mony a boute^. 

Men mihte him knowen in the route, 
The aungel was clothed al in whyt. Was never seyge'' such samjl'^": 

And al was crouched on pedes richc. 

Never mon seighe non hem liche. 
Al whit attyr was, and steede. The stcedewasfairtherheyede^\ 

So feir a stccde as he on rod Was never mon that ever bistrod. 

The aungel cam to Roome sone RcaP- as fcl a kyng to done. 

So rech a kyng com never in Roomc 

All men wondrede whether he come. 

1 Renegado, traitor. - At the c.^ll, [in haste.] 3 Calls. •* Pnce. 5 Precious stones. 
6 That is, the Anc;el. 7 Lothly, loatlisome. S In many knots. '•• been. 

10 Cloth of gold. 11 Went. i^ Royal. 


His men weore realliche^ dight Heore^ riches can seote no wiht, 

Of clothis, gurdles, and other thing, Evriche sqyzcr^ thoughte a kyng ; 
And al ride of riche array, Bote* kyng Robert, as i ow say, 

Al men on him gan pyke, For he rod al other unlykc. 

An ape rod of his clothing In tokne that he was underling. 

The pope and the cmperour also, And other lordes mony mo, 

Welcommedc the aiingel as for kyng. 

And made joye of his comyng; 

Theose three bredrene made cumfort, 

The aungel was broder mad bi sort, 

Wei was the pope and emperour 

That hadden a broder of such honour. 

Afterwards they return in the same pomp to Sicily, where the angel, 
after so long and so ignominious a penance, restores king Robert to 
his royalty. 

Sicily was conquered by the French in the eleventh century^, and 
this tale might have been originally got or written during their pos- 
session of that island, which continued through monarchies^. But 
Sicily, from its situation, became a familiar country to all the western 
continent at the time of the crusades, and consequently soon found 
its way into romance, as did many others of the mediterranean islands 
and coasts, for the same reason. Another of them, Cilicia, has 
ac :ordingly given title to an ancient tale called, the King OF Tars ; 
fiOm which I shall give some extracts, touched with a rude but an 
e.xprcssive pencil. 

'Her bigenneth of the Kyng of Tars, and of the Soudan of, 

1 Royally. - Their. 3 Squire. 4 But. 

B There is an old French Romance, Robert le Diable, often quoted by Carpentier in his 
Supplement to Du Cange. And a French I^lorality, without date, or name of the author, 
in SiSS. Comment il sut eiijoiitt a Robert U- diable, Jils du due de Noriitattdie, j>07ir ses 
mcsfaites, defaire lefol sai:g parler, ct dcpuis"^. 'is. tit inerci du lui. Bcauchamp's Rech. 
Theat. Fr. p. 109. This is probably the same Robert I. The French prose romance of 
Robert le Diable, printed in 1496, is e.\tant in the little collection, of two volumes, called 
BlBLTOTHEQUE Blei'E. It has been translated into other laufjuages : among the rest into 
English. The English version was printed by AVynkyn de Worde. The title of one of the 
chapters is, Hcnu god sent cm aungell to the he'riiiyie to sJieive him tlie pejiaunce tliat he 
should gyve to Robert for his synties. — 'Yf that Robert wyll be shryven of his synnes, he 
' must kepe and counterfeite the wayes of a fole and be as he were dombe, &c.' It 
ends thus. 

Thus endeth the lyfe of Robert the dcvyll That was the servaunte of our lorde 
And of his condycyons that was full cvyll Emprintcd in London by Wynkyn de Worde 
The volume has this colophon. ' Here endeth the lyfe of the moost forcfuUest and unmercy- 
' fullest and myschevous Robert the devill which was afterwards called the servaunt of our 
' Lorde Jhcsu Crj'ste. Emprinted in Fletestrcte in [at] the synge of the sonne by Wynkjii de 
Worde.' There is an old English Morality on this tale, under the very corrupt title of 
Robert Cicvll, which was represented at the High-Cross in Chester, in 1529. Tlierc is a 
MSS. copy of the poem, on vellum, in Trinity college library at Oxford, MSS. 
Kum. Lvii. fol. 

" A i..T>«,agc in Fauchett, speaking of hyme, may perhaps deserve attention here. ' Pour le 
' r'- t'.r'. (le Sicilians, je me ticns presque asseure, que Guillaume P^errabrach frcre de Robert 
' (ii;; li.ird ct autrcs seigneurs de Cafabre ct Pouille enfans de Taticrcd Francois-Normand. 
'run-. [ .rtcc aux paLs de leur conciucslc, estant une coustume des gens de deca chanter, que combatlre, les beaux faits de Icurs ancestrcs, composez en vers.' Rec. p. 70. 
I'v ' .1' j'/s Tancrcd, in his beautiful Tale of Tanxked ano .Sigismunda, was one of these 
1': II' ■,-.\onn,-ui kings of Sicily. Compare Nouv. Abrcg. t'liri,!.,). [list. Fr. pag. 102. 


' Dammias^, how the Soudan of Dammias was cristened thoru godis 
' gras^.' 

Herkeneth now, bothe old and zyng, 
Ffor Marie love, that swete thyng : 
Howe a werre bi gan 
Bi tweene a god cristene kyng, And an hethene heih lordyng, 

Of Damas the Soudan. 
The kyng of Tars hadde a wyf, The feireste that mihte bere lyf, 

That eny mon telle can : 
A dougter thei hadde ham bi tweene, 
That heore^ rihte heire scholde ben ; 

Whit so* father of swan : 
Chaast heo ^ was, and feit of chere. 
With rode ^red soblosme on brere, 

Eigen'^ stepe and gray, 
Lowe schuldres, and whyt swere* 
Her to seo^ was gret preyere 
Of princes pert in play. 
The worde^" of hire spronge ful wyde 
Ffeor and ner, bi vch a syde : 

The Soudan herde say ; 
Him thougte his herte wolde broke on five 
Bote he mihte have hire to wive, 

That was so feire a may. 
The Soudan ther he satte in halle ; 
He sent his messagers faste with alle, 

To hire fader the kyng. 
And seyde, hou so hit ever bi falle, 
That mayde he wolde clothe in palle 
And spousen hire with his ryng, 
' And alles^^ I swere withouten fayle 
* I chuU^^ hire winnen in pleye battayle 
' With mony an heih lordyng, &c.' 
The Soldan, on application to the king of Tarsus for his daughter, is 
refused ; and the messengers return without success. The Soldan's 
anger is painted with great characteristical spirit. 
The Soudan sate at his des, I served of his furste mes ; 

Thei comen into the halle 
To fore the prince proud in pres, Heore tale thei toldc withouten les 

And on heore knees gan falle ; 
And seide, ' Sire the king of Tars ' Of wikked words nis not scars, 

' Hethene hounde^^ he doth the" calle ; 
'And or his dogtur he give the tille^^ ' Thyn herte blode he woll spille 
' And thi barrons alle.' 

1 Damascus. 

- MS. Vernon. Bibl. Bodl. f. 304. It is also in Bibl. Adv. Edingb. W. 4. i. Num. iv. In 
five leaves and a half. Never printed. 3 Their. 4 As ^ She. 

6 Ruddy, [complexion.] 7 Eyes. 8 Neck. " See. 

10 The report of her. H Also, [else.] 1- Shall. 

13 A phrase often applied to the Saracens. So in Syr Bezys. Signal C. ii. b. 

To speke with an Jictheyie lionndc. 
1-1 Thee, U ' Before his daughter is given to thee.' 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY, 133 

Whan the Soudan this i herde, As a wod man he ferde, 
His robe he rent adoune ; 
He tar the har^ of hed and berde, 
And seide he wold her wcnc with swerde, 
Beo his lord seynt Mahoune. 
The table adoune rihte he smote, In to the floore foote hot^ 
He lokede as a wylde lyoun ; 
Alle that he hitte he smotte down riht 
Both sergeaunt and kniht, 
Erie and eke baroun. 
So he ferde forsothe a plihte, Al a day, al a nihte, 

That no man mihte him chaste^. — 
Amonven whenhitwasdaylihte, He sent his messagers ful rihte, 

After his barouns in haste : 
' Lordynges, he seith, what to rede*, 'Ale is done a grete mysdede, 
' Of Taars the cristen kyng ; 
' I bad him both land and lede 
*To have his doughter in worthli wede, 
' And spousen hire with my ryng 
' And he seide, withouten fayle ' First he wolde m.e sle in batayle, 

' And many a grete lordynge. 
At sertes^ he schal be forswore, • Or to wrothele" that he was bore 

' Bote he hit therto^ bryng. 
' Therefore lordynges, I have after ow sent 
• Ffor to come to my parliment, 
' To wite of zow counsayle.' 
And all onswerde with gode entent 
Thei wolde be at his commaundement 

Withouten any fayle. 
And when thei were alle at his heste, 
The Souden made a well grete feste, 

For love of his battayle ; 
The Soudan gedrede a hoste unryde' 
With Sarazyns of muchel pryde. 
The kyng of Taars to assayle. 
Whan the kyng hit herde thattyde He sent about on vche syde. 

All that he mihte off seende ; 
Grat werre tho bi gan to wrake Ffor the marriage ne most be take 

Of that same mayden heende^. 
Battayle thei sette uppon a day, With inne the thridde day of May, 

Nc longer nolde thei lecnde^'^, 
TheSoudan com with grete power. With hclme briht, and fcir banere, 
Uypon that kyng to wende. 

1 'Tore the hair. 2 Struck, Stamped. 3 Check; 

■• ' What counsel shall we take.' 5 ' But certainly." 

•Lossof health or safety. Malediction. So R. of liruiine, Chron. Apud. Hearne's Rob; 
Clouc. p. 737. 738. 

Morgan did after conseile, Andwrought him sclfe to ivrothcrheiU. 


To zow al was a wikkc conseile, That zc scllc se full lurotJierJieiU, 

^' To that issue.' « Unright. Wicked. » Hcnd. Handsome. " Xiury. 


The Soudan ladde an huge oft, 
And com with muche pruyde and cost, 
With the kyng of Taars to fihte. 
With him mony a Sarazyn feer\ All the feolds feor and neer. 

Of helmes leomede^ lihte. 
The kyng of Taars com also The Soudan battayle for to do 

With mony a cristene knilitc ; 
Either ost gon othur assayle Ther bi gon a strong batayle 

That grislyche was of sihte. 
Threo hethene agen twey cristene men, 
And felde hem down in the fen. 
With wepnes stif and goode 
The steorne Sarazyns in that fihte, Slowe vr eristen men doun rihte, 

Thei fouhte as heo weore woode. 
The Souldan's oste in that stounde Ffeolde the cristene to thegrounde, 

Mony a freoly foode ; 
The Sarazyns, with outen fayle. The cristens culd^ in that battayle, 

Nas non that hem withstoode. 
Whantheking of Taars sawthesiht Wood he was for wrathe* a pliht; 

In honde he hent a spere. 
And to the Soudan he rode ful riht, With a dunt'' of much miht, 
Adoun he gon him bere ; 
The Souldan neigh he hadde islawe, 
But thritti thousant of hethen lawe 
Commen him for to were ; 
And brougten him agen upon his stede, 
And holpe him wel in that nede, 
That no mon miht him dere'^. 
When he was brouht uppon his stede, 
He sprong as sparkle doth of glede", 

Ffor wrathe and for envye ; 
All that he hotte he made them blede, 
He ferde as he wolde a wede*. 
Mahoun help, he gan crye. 
Mony an helm ther was uhweved, And mony a bacinet^ to cleved 

And saddles mony emptyc ; 
Men miht se uppon the felde Moni a kniht dcd under schclde, 

Of the eristen cumpagnie 
Whon the kyng of Taars saug hem so ryde, 
No longer than he nold abyde. 
Bote fleyy to his owne cite : 
The Sarazyns, that ilke tyde, Sloug a doun bi vche syde 

Vr cristene i'olk so fre. 
The Sarazyns that tyme, sauns fayle, Slowe vre cristene in battayle. 
That reuthe it was to se ; 
And on the morwe for hcore^^ sake 
Truwes thei gunne for to gidere take^^, 
A moneth and dayes thrc. 

1 Companion. " Shone. 3 Killed. 4 Wrappe. Orig. 

B Dint. Wound, stroke. 6 Hurt. '' Coal. Firebrand. 

8 ' As ifhc wa^ mad.' 9 Helmet. l" Flew. " Their. 

12 ' They began to make a truce together.* 


As the kyng of Taars satte in his halle, 
He made ful grct deoU withalle, 

Ffor the "folk that he hedde ilore^ : 
His douhter com in richc palle, 
On kneos he^ gan biforcn hym falle, 

And seide with sything sore : 
' Ffather, she seide, let me bi his wyf 
' That ther be no more stryf, &c.' 
To prevent future bloodshed, the princess voluntarily declares she 
is willing to be married to the Soldan, although a Pagan : and not- 
withstanding the king her father peremptorily refuses consent, and 
resolves to continue the war, with much difficulty she finds means to 
fly to the Soldan's court, in order to produce a speedy and lasting re- 
conciliation by marrying him. 

To the Souldan heo* is i fare ; 
He coni with mony an heig lordyng, 
Ffor to welcom that swete thyng, 
Theor he com in hire charc'^ : 
He cust" hire with mony a sithe His joye couthe no man hithe'^, 

A wei was al hire care. 
Into chambre heo was led, With riche clothes heo was cled, 

Hethene as thaug heo wcre^. 
The Souldan ther he satte in halle. He commaunded his knihtes alle 

That mayden ffor to fette. 
On cloth of riche purpil palle, And on here bed a comli calle, 

Bi the Souldan she was sctte. 
Unsemli was hit ffor to se Heo that was so bright of ble 

To habbe^ so foule a mette-^**, &c. 
They are then married, and the wedding is solemnized with a grand 
tournament, which they both view from a high tower. She is after- 
wards delivered of a son, which is so deformed as to be almost 
a monster. But at length she persuades the Soldan to turn 
christian ; and the young prince is baptised, after which ceremony he 
suddenly becomes a child of most extraordinary beauty. The Soldan 
next proceeds to destroy his Saracen idols. 
He hente a stof with herte grete, And al his goddis he gan to bete, 

And drough hem al adoun ; 
And Icyde on til that he con swete With sterne strokes and with grcte 

On Jovyn and Plotoun, 
On Astrot and sire^^ Jovyn On Tcrmagaunt and Apollin, 

He brak them scul and croun ; 

1 Pole. Grief. 2 Lost. 3 She. 4 She. 5 Chariot. 

8 Kist. 7 Know. 

8' As if she had been a heathen. One of that country.' " Have. 10 Mate. 

'• I know not if by sire ycrziyn he means Jupiter, or the Roman cmperour called Jovinian, 
against whom .saint Jerom wrote, and whose histor>' is in the CJi'.sta I<o.manori;m, c. 50. He 
IS mentioned by Chaucer as .in example of pride, luxury, and lust. Somp. T. v. 7511. Ver- 
dicr (in V.) recites a MoralUe on Jovinian, with 19 characters, printed at Lyons, from an 
ancient copy in 1581, 8vo. With thctitlc VOrgueilet prrsciiiptionde F Euipercur ]o\'\K\Kti. 
But "ycr.yn lit-inv; nicnlioncd here with PlotniDi and Apollin, seems to mean Jove or Jup-iUr; 
and ihc appclialion, siRii, pcrluips aa^Xvfi/iither, or chii:/, of the heathen gods. 


On Termagaunt, that was heore brother, 
He left no lym hoi witte other, 

Ne on his lorde seynt Mahoun, <S:c. 

The Soldan then releases 30,000 christians, whom he had long detained 
prisoners. As an apostate from the pagan religion, he is powerfully- 
attacked by several neighbouring Saracen nations : but he solicits the 
assistance of his father-in-law the king of Tars ; and they both join- 
ing their armies, in a pitched battle, defeat five Saracen kings. Kene- 
doch, Lesyas king of Taborie, Merkel, Cleomadas, and Membrok. 
There is a warmth of description in some passages of this poem, not 
unlike the manner of Chaucer. The reader must have already ob- 
served, that the stanza resembles that of Chaucer's Rime of Sir 


Ipomedon is mentioned among the romances in the Prologue of 
Richard Cuer de Lyon ; which, in an ancient copy of the British 
Museum, is called Sir Ipomydon : a name borrowed from the 
Theban war, and transferred here to a tale of the feuda.1 times^. This 
piece is evidently derived from a French original. Our hero Ippo- 
medon is son of Ermones king of Apulia, and his mistress is the fair 
heiress of Calabria. About the year 1230, William Ferrabras^, and 
his brethren, sons of Tancred the Norman, and well known in the 
romantic history of the Paladins, acquired the signories of Apulia and 
Calabria. But our English romance seems to be immediately trans- 
lated from the French ; for Ermones is called king of Poyle, or 
Apulia, which in French is Poicille. I have transcribed some of the 
most interesting passages*. 

Ippomedon, although the son of a king, is introduced waiting in his 
father's hall, at a grand festival. This servitude was so far from 
being dishonourable, that it was always required as a preparatory step 
to knighthood^ 

Everie year the kyng weld At Whytsuntyde a fest held 

Of dukis, crlis, and barouns, Mani ther com from diverse tounes, 

Ladycs, maydens, gentill and fre, Come theydr frome ferre countre : 
And grette lordis of ferre lond, Thedyrwereprayd by forethchond^. 
Whan all were come to gidyr than Ther was joy of mani a man ; 
Ffull ryche I wene were there pryse, 
Ffor better might no man devyse, 
Ippomedon that day servyde in halle. 
All spake of hym both grete and smalle. 
Ladyes and mayden by helde hym on, . 
So goodly a youth they had sene non : 

' The romance of Sir Lideaux or Lybius Disconius, quoted by Chaucer, is in this stanza. 
MSS. Cott. Gal. A. 2. f. 40. 

2MSS. Karl. 2252. 44. f. 54. And in the library of Lincoln cathedral, (K k. 3. io.)is3a 
ancient imperfect printed copy, wanting the first sheet 

i Bras defer. Iron arms. * MSS. t 55. 6 See p. supr. 8 Before-hand. 


H)-s feyre chere in hallc theym smcrtc 

That mony a lady son smote throw the hcrte. 

And in theyr hartys they made mono 

That there lordis ne were suche one. 
After mete they went to pley, All the peple, as I you say; 

Some to chambre, and some to boure, 
And some to the hyc tourc' ; And some on the halle stode 

And spake what hem thoht gode : Men that were of that cite ^ 

Enquired of men of other cuntre, &c. 

Here a conversation commences concerning the heiress of Calabria : 
and the young prince Ippomedon immediately forms a resolution to 
visit and to win her. He sets out in disguise. 

Now they furth go on their way, Ippomedon to hys men gan say, 
That thei be none of them alle, So hardi by his name hym calle, 

Whenso thei wend farre or neare, Or over the straunge ryvere ; 
Ne no man telle what I am 
Where I schall go, ne where I came, 
All they graunted his commaundement, 
And furthe thei went with one consent. 
Ippomedon and Thelomew Robys had on and mantills newe, 

Of the richest that might be, Ther nas ne suche in that cuntree : 

Ffor many was the riche stone That the mantills were uppon. 

So long there waie they have nome^ That to Calabre they are come : 
Thei come to the castell yate The porter was redy there at, 

The porter to them thei gan calle And prayd him go into the halle 
And say thy lady* gent and fre, 
That commen are men of farre contrce, 
And yf yt please hir we will her pray. 
That we might etc with hyr to day. 
The porter seyd full cortessly ' Your errand to do I am redy.' 

The ladie to her mete was sette. The porter cam and fayr her grette, 
' Madame, he seyde, god yow save, ' At your gate gestis you have, 
' Straunge men us for to se ' Thei askc mete for charyte.' 

The ladie commaundeth sonc anonc That the gates wer undone, 
'And brynge them alle bifore me ' Ffor welle at ese shall thei be.'- 
Thei took heyr pagis hors and alle. These two men went into the halle, 
Ippomedon on knees hym sette, And the ladye feyre he grette: 
' 1 am a man of straunge countrc 'And prye yow of your will to be 
' That I myght d welle with you to gere ' Of your nourture for to lere^, 
' I am com from farre lond ; ' Ffor speche I here bi fore the hand 

* That your nourture and your servyse, ' Ys holden of so grete cmpryse, 

1 In the feudal casllcs, where many persons of both sexes were assembled, and who did not 
know how to spend the time, it is natural to suppose that different parties were formed, and 
different schemes of amusement invented. One of these, was to mount to the top of one of 
the hi;;hest towers in the castle. 

^ The .^iiulians. 3 Took. 

* She w.-is lady, by inheritance, of the si^jnory. The female feudataries exercised all the 
duties and honours of their feudal jurisdiction in person. In Spencer, where we read of the 
Lady 0/ the Castle, we arc to understand such a character. See a story of a Comtesse, who 
entertains a kniKht in her castle with much gallantry. Mem. sur. I'anc. Chev. ii. 69. It is 
well known thai anciently in England ladies werr- sherifls of counties. Margaret countess of 
Kichmond was a justice of the peace. 6 Learn. 


' I pray you that I may dwell here * Some of your servyse to here.' 
The ladye by held Ippomedon, He semed wel a gentilmon, 

She knew non suche in her lande, So goodli a man and wel farrand' ; 
She sawe also bi his norture He was a man of grete valure: 

She cast ful sone in hire thoght That for no servyse cum he noght; 

But hit was worship her untoo In feir servyse hym to do.- 

She sayd, ' Syr, welcome ye be, ' And al that comyn be with the ; 

' Sithe ye have had so grete travayle, ' Of a ser\'yse ye shall not fayle : 
' In this cuntre ye may dwell here, ' And al your will for to here, 

' Of the cuppe ye shall serve me 

' And all your men with you shal be, 
' Ye may dwell here at your wille, ' Bote -^ your beryng be full ylle.' 
' Madame, he said, grantmercy.' He thanked the ladye corteysly. 

She commandith him to the mete. But or he sette in ony sete. 
He saluted theymgreete and smalle, As a gentillmon shuld in halle; 
All thei said sone anon, Thei saw nevir so godli a mon, 

Ne so light, ne so glad, Ne non that so ryche atire had : 

There was none that sat nor yede^. But thei had merveille of hisdede*, 
And seyd, he was no lytell syre That myht showe soche atyre. 

Whan thei had ete, and grace sayd, And the tabyll awaye was layd ; 
Upp then aroos Ippomedon, And to the bottery he went anon, 

Ant hys mantyl hym a boute ; On hym lokyd all the route. 

Ant everie mon seyd to other there, ' Will ye se the proudc squeer 
' Shall serve^ my ladye of the wyne, ' In hys mantyll that is so fyne ?' 

That they hym scornyd wist he noght 
On bthyr thyng he had his thoght. He toke the cuppe of the botelere, 

And clrewe a lace of sylke ful clere, 
Adowne than felle hys mantylle by. He preyed hym for hys curtesy. 

That lytell gyfte'' that he wold nome 

Tell afte sum better come. 
Up it toke the bottelere. By fore the lady he gan it bere 

Ant preyd the ladye hartely To thanke hym of his curtessie, 

Al that was tho in the halle Gretehonouretheyspakehymalle. 

And sayde he was no lytyll man That such gyftis giffie kan. 
There he dwelled moni a day. And servyd the ladye wel to pay, 

He bare hym on so fayre manere To knightis, ladyes, and squycre, 
All loved hym that com hym by, Ffor he bare hym so cortessly. 

The ladye had a cosyn that hight Jason, 

Full well he loved Ippomedon; 
When that he yed in or oute, Jason went with hym aboute. 

The lady lay, but she slept noght. 

For of the squyerre she had grete thoght ; 
How he wasfeyrc and shape wcle. Body and armes, and everie dele: 
Thcr was non in al hir londe So wel he seymd dougti of honde. 

But she howde wcle for no case, Whence he came nor what he was, 

Ne of no man could enquere, Other than of that squyere. 

She hire bi thought of a quayntyse, 

If she miht know in any wise, 

1 Handsome. 2 Unless. 3 Walked; 4 Behaviour. 5 "Who is to serve." <>i.e. His mantle. 


To wete whereof he were come ; 
This was hyr thoght al their some 
She tlioght to wode hyr men to tame'^ 
That she myghte knowe hym by his game. 
On the morow whan yt was clay To her men she gan to say, 

* To morrowe whan it is day hght, * Lok yc be al redy dight, 

'With your houndis more and Icsse, 
' In ffon-est to take my gresse, 

* And thare I will myself be ' Your game to by holde and se.' 
Ippomcdon had houndis three That he broght from his cuntree; 

Whan thei were to the wode gone, 

This ladyc and her men ichone, 
And with them her houndis ladde All that any houndis hadde. 

Syr Tholomew for gate he noght, 

Hys maistres houndes thedyr he broght. 

That many a day he had ronne ere, 

Fful wel he thoght to note hem there. 

Wlien thei came to the launde on hight, 

The quenes pavylyon thar was pight, 
That she might see al the best, All the game of the forrest, 

And to the lady broght mani a best^, 
Herte and hynd, buck and doo, And othir bestis many mo. 

The houndis that wer of gret prise, Plucked down dere all atryse, 

Ippomcdan he with his hounds throo 

Drew down both buck and doo. 
More he took with houndes thre Than al that othir cumpagnie, 
Thare squyres undyd hyr dere Eche man after his manere : 

Ippomedon a dere gedc unto, Thatful konningly gon he hit undo, 

So feyre that venyson he gan to dight, 

That both hym by held squyere and knight : 

The ladye looked oute of her pavylyon. 

And sawe hym dight the venyson. 
There she had grctc dainte And so had all that dyd hym see : 

She sawe all that he down droughe 

Of huntynge she wist he coude ynoghe 
And thoght in her hert then That he was com of gentillmen : 

She bade Jason hire men to calle Homethcn passyd grcteandsmalle : 
Home thei com son anon, This ladye to hir met gan gon, 

And of venery^ had her fille Ffor they had take game at wille. 

He is afterwards knighted with great solemnity. 

Thchcraudesgafifthechilde^thcgee, And M pounde he had to fee, 
Mynstrclles had giftes of gold 
And fourty dayes thys festc was holde^ 
The metrical romance entitled, La Mort Arthure, preserved in 
the same repository, is supposed by the learned and accurate Wanley, 
to be a translation from the French : who adds, that it is not perhaps 
older than the times of Henry VII". But as it abounds with many 

lT(;mpt. 'Beast. 3Vcnison. 4 Ippomcdon. 6MSS. f. 6i.b, 

" M.SS. Harl. 2252. 49. f. 86. Pr. ' Lordings that are Icssc anil dcarc' Never printed. 


Saxon words, and seems to be quoted in Syr Bevys, I have given it a 
place here^. Notwithstanding the title and the exordium, which pro- 
mises the history of Arthur and the Sangreal, the exploits of Sir 
Lancelot du Lake king of Benwike, his intrigues with Arthur's queen 
Geneura, and his refusal of the beautiful daughter of the earl of 
Ascalot, form the greatest part of the poem. At the close, the repen- 
tance of Lancelot and Geneura, who both assume the habit of religion, 
is introduced. The writer mentions the tower of London. The 
following is a description of a tournament performed by some of the 
knights of the Round Table^. 

Tho to the castelle gon they fare. To the ladye fayre and biyhte : 

Bhthe was the ladye thare. 

That thci wold dwell with her that nyght. 

Hastely was there soper yare^ 

Of mete and drinke richely dight ; 

On the morrowe gan thei dine and fare 

Both Lancellot and that othir knight. 
Whan they come in to the felde, Mychc ther was of game and play, 

Awhile they lovid* and bi held 

How Arthur's knightis rode that day, 

Galehodis'' party bigun to** held, 
On fote his knightis ar led away, Launcellott stiffe was undyr schelde, 

Thcnkis to help yf that he may. 
Besyde him come than syr Gawayne, Breme''' as eny wilde bore ; 
Lancellot springis hem agayne^ In rede armys that he bore : 

A dynte he gaff with mekill mayne Syr Ewayne was unhorsid thare. 
That al menwent^ he had ben slayne So was hewoundyd wondyrfare^", 
SjT Bcorte thoughte no thinge good. When Syr Ewaineunhorsyd was ; 
Fforth he springis, as he were wode, To Launcellot withouten lese : 
Launcellott hitt hym on the hode, The next way togroundehechese; 

Was won so stiffe agayne hym stode 

Fful thin he made the thickest prees". 

Syr Lyonell be gonne to tene^-, 

And hastely he made hym bowne^^, 

To Launcellott, with herte kenc. 

He rode with helme and sword browne ; 

Launcellott hytt hym as I wene. 

Through the helme in to the crowne : 

That eny aftir it was sene 

Bothe horse and man ther yod adoune. 
The knightis gadrede to gedre than And gan with crafte, Sec. 

I could give many more ample specimens of the romantic poems 
these nameless minstrels, who probably flourished before or about the 
reign of Edward IP*. But it is neither my inclination nor intention to 

1 Signal. K. ii. b. 2 MSS. t. 89. b. 

3 Ready. See Glossary to the O.xf. edit, of SIiaka-,peare, 1771. In Voc. 

4 Hovered. 5 Sir Galaad's. •> Perhaps jy^'/i^, i.e. yield. 

7 Fierce. 8 Against. " Weened. W Sore. H Crowd. 12 Be Troubled. 13 Ready 

1* Ocinviati is one of the romances mentioned in the Prologue 's.oCiirede Lyon, above cited. 

In the Cotton MSS. there is the metrical romance of Octavian hnperotor, but it has nothing 


^\Tite a catalogue, or compile a miscellany. It is not to be expected 
that this work should be a general repositoiy of our ancient poetrj'. I 
cannot however help observing, that English literature and English 
poetry suffer, while so many pieces of this kind still remain concealed 
and forgotten in our MSS. libraries. They contain in common with 
the prose romances, to most of which indeed they gave rise, amusing 
images of ancient- customs and institutions, not elsewhere to be 
found, or at least ijot otherwise so strikingly delineated : and they 
preserve pure and unmixed, those fables of chivalry which form- 
ed the taste and awakened the imagination of our elder English 

of the history of the Roman emperors. Pr. 'Jhesu at was with spere ystonge.' Calig. A. 
12. f. 20. It is a very singular stanza. In bishop More's MSS. at Cambridge, there is a poem 
with the same title, but a very different beginning, viz. ' Lytyll and mykyll olde and younge.' 
Bibl. Publ. 6go. 30. The emperor Octavycn, perhaps the same as mentioned in Chaucer's 
Drcme, v. 368. Among Hatton's MSS. in Bibl, Bodl. we have a French poem, Romamice de 
Oihenien Ejiiperour di Ro/ne. Hyper. Bodl. 4046. 21. 

In the same line of the aforesaid Prologue, we have the romance of Ury. This is probably 
the father of the celebrated Sir Ewaine or Yvain, mentioned in the Court Mantell. Mem. 
Anc. Cheval. ii. p. 62. 

Li rois pris par la destre main L'amiz monselgnor Yvain _ 

Quiau ROi Urien su filz, Et bons chevaliers et hardiz, 

Qui tant ama chiens et oifiau.x. 

Specimens of the English Syr Bcvys may be seen in Percy's Ball. iii. 216. 217, 297. edit. 

1767. K-nd, Obscr-^'iitions 071 tJie Fairy Qjcecn,%.\\. \>. $0. It is extant in the black letter. It 

is in MSS. at Cambridge, Bibl. Publ. 690. 30. And Coll. Caii. A. g. 5. And MSS. Bib!. 

Adv. Edingb. W. 4. i. Num. x.xii. ' It is in this romance of Syr Bevy.s, that the knight passes 

over a bridge, the arches of which are hung round with small bells. Signat. E iv. This is an 

oriental idea. In the Alcoran it is said, that one of the felicities in Mahomet's paradise, will 

be to listen to the ravishing music of an infinite number of bells, hanging on the trees, which 

will be put in motion by the wind proceeding from the throne of God. Sale's Kor.\n, Prelim. 

Disc. p. 100. In the enchanted horn, as we shall see hereafter, in le Lai dii Corn, the rim of 

the horn is hung round with a hundred bells of a most musical sound. 

Sidracke was translated inte English verse by one Hugh Campden ; and printed, probably 
not long after it translated, at London, by Thomas Godfrey, at the cost of Dan Robert 
Saltwood, monk of saint Austin's in Canterbury, 1510. This piece therefore belongs to a 
lower period. I have seen only one MSS. copy of it. Laud, G. 57. fol. membran. 

Chaucer mentions, in Sir yo/rts, among others, the romantic poems of Sir Blandainoiirc, 
Sir Libeaux, and Sir Ippotis. Of the former I find nothing more than the name occurring in 
Sir Libcaitx. To avoid prolix repetitions from other works in the hands of all, I refer the 
reader to Percy's Essay on aticient -metrical Romances, who had analysed the plan of Sir 
Libeatix, or Sir Libins Disconius, at large, p. 17. See also p. .24. ibid. 

As to Sir Ippotis, an ancient poem with that title occurs in MSS, MSS. Cotton, Calig. A2. 
f. 77. and MSS. Vernon, f 296. But as Chaucer is speaking of romances of Chivalry, which 
he means to ridicule, and this is a religious legend, it may be doubted whether this is the piece 
alluded to by Chaucer. However I will here exhibit a specimen of it from the exordium. 
MSS. Vernon f. 296. 

Her Hginnith a tretys That jnoi clepcth ypotis. 

Alle that wolleth of wisdom Icre, Lukeneth now, and ze may here ; 

Of a tale of holi writ Scynt John the Evangelist witnesseth it. 

How hit 'oifelle in grcte Rome, The cheef citee of cristendome, 

A childe was sent of mihtcs most, Thorow venue of the holi gost : 

The emperour of Rome than His name was hoten sire Adrian : 

And when the child of grete honour Was come before the emperour. 

Upon his knees he him sette The emperour full faire he grette : 

The emperour with milde chore, Askede liira whethencc he come were, &c. 

We shall have occasion, in the progress of our poetry, to bring other specimens of these com- 
positions. See Obs. on Spenser's I""airy Queen, ii. 42. 43. 

I must not forget here, that Sir Gawaine, one of Arthur's champions, is celebrated in a sep- 
arate romance. Among Tanner's MSS., we have the IVcddyuge 0/ Sir Gaiuayne, Numb. 
455. Bibl. Bodl. It begins, ' Be ye blythe and listeneth to the lyf of a lorde riche. Dr. 
Percy lias printed the Marriage of Sir Gawaytic, which he believes to have furnished Chaucer 
\i\\.\\\\K,lVi/e o/Dath. Ball. 1. 11. It begins, ' King Arthur lives in merry Carlisle.' I think 
1 have somewhere seen a romance in verse entitled, the Tiirke arid Gawaine. 


classics. The antiquaries of former times overlooked or rejected 
these valuable remains, which they despised as false and frivolous ; 
and employed 'their industry in reviving obscure fragments of 
uninstructive morality or uninteresting history. But in the present 
age we are beginning to make ample amends : in which the curiosity of 
the antiquarian is connected with taste and genius, and his researches 
tend to display the progress of human manners, and to illustrate the 
history of society. 

As a further illustration of the general subject, and many particulars 
of this section and the three last, I will add a new proof of the 
reverence in which such stories were held, and of the familiarity with 
which they must have been known by our ancestors. These fables 
were not only perpetually repeated at their festivals, but were the 
constant objects of their eyes. The very walls of their apartments 
were clothed with romantic history. Tapestry was anciently the 
fashionable furniture of our houses, and it was chiefly filled with lively 
representations of this sort. The stories of the tapestry in the royal 
palaces of Henry the eight are still preserved^ ; which I will here 
give without reserve, including other subjects as they happen to occur, 
equally descriptive of the times. In the tapestry of the tower of Lon- 
don, the original and most ancient seat of our monarchs, there are 

1 'The seconde part of the Inventoi-ye of our late sovereigne lord kyng Henry VIII con- 

teynynge his guardrobes, household-stuff, &c. &c.' MSB. Had. 1419. fol. The original. 

Compare p. 11.1. supr. and Walpole's Anecd. Paint, i. p. 10. I make no apology for adding 

here an account of the furniture of a Closet at the old royal palace of Greenwich, in the 

reign of Henry the eighth ; as it throws light on our general subject, by giving a lively picture 

of the fashions, arts, amusements, and modes of life, which then prevailed. From the same 

manuscript in the British Museum. ' A clocke. A glasse of Steele. Four battle axes of 

'wood. Two quivers with arrowes. A painted table, [i. e. a picture.] A pa>Te of ballance 

[balances], with waights. A case of tynne with a plot. In the window [a large bow-window], 

a round mapp, A staridinge glasse of Steele in ship. — A brance of flowres wrought upon wyre. 

Two payre of playing tables of bone. A payre of chesmen in a case of black lether. Two 

birds of Araby. A gonne f gun] upon a stocke wheeled. Five paxes [crucifi.xes] of glasse and 

woode. A tablet of our ladie and saint Anne. A standinge glasse with imagery made of bone. 

Three payre of hawkes gloves, with tv/o lined with velvett. Three combe-cases of bone 

furnished. A night-cappe of blacke velvett embrawdered. Sampson made in Alablaster. A 

peece of unicorne's home. Littel boxes in a case of woode. Four littel coffres for jewels. 

A home of ivorie. A standinge diall in a case of copper. A horne-glasse. Eight cases of 

trenchers. Forty four dogs collars, of sondrye makynge. Seven ^'rt?/.j of silke. A purse of 

crymson sattcn for a embrawdered with goldc. A round painted table with the 

ymage of a kinge. A foldinge table of im.ages. One payre of bcdes [beads] of jasper garn- 
ished with lether. One hundred and thirty eight hawkes hoodcs. A globe of paper. A 
mappe made lyke a scryne. Two green boxes with wrought corall in them. Two 
boxes covered with blacke velvett. A reede tipt at both ends with golde, and bolts for a 
turony bowe. [Perhaps Tyrone in Ireland.] A chaire of joyned worke. An elle of synna- 
monde [cinnamon] sticke tipt with sylver. Three ridinge roddes for ladies, and a yard [rod] 
of blake tipt with home. SLx walkyng staves, one covered with silk and golde. A blake 
satten-bag with chesmen. A table with a cloth [a picture] of saint George embrawdered. A 
case of fyne carved work. A bo.x witR a bird of Araby. Two long cases of black lether 
with podegrccs. A' case of Irish arrows. A table, with wordes, of Jhcsus. A target. 
Twenty-nine bowes.' MSS. Harl. 1419. fol. 58. In the G.vlleky at Greenwich, mention is 
made of a 'Mappe of England.' Ibid. fol. 58. And in Westminster-palace 'a Mappe of 
Hant shire.' fol. 133. A proof that the topography of England was now studied. Among 
various heads of Furniture, or stores, at the castle of Windsor, such as Horns, Gvrdei.les, 
Hawkes Hood.s, Weapons, Bucklers, Dogs Collars, and Aiglettes, W.\lking-st.\ves 
are specified. Under this last head we have, 'A cane garnished with golde havinge a per- 
'fiime in the toppe, undre that a diall, with a paire of twitchers, and a paire of compasses of 
'golde, and a footc reule of golde, a knife and the file, th' afte [the handle of the knife] of 
'golde with a whetstone tipped with golde, &c.' fol, 407, 


depicted Godfrey of Bulloign, the three kings of Cologn, the emperor Con- 
stantine, St. George, king ErkenwakP, the history of Hercules, Fame 
and Honour, the Triumph of Divinity, Esther, Ahasuerus, Jupiter and 
Juno, St. George, the eight Kings, the ten Kings of France, Birth of our 
Lord, Duke Joshua, theriche history of king David, the seven Deadly 
Sins, the riche history of the Passion, the Stem of Jesse,^ our Lady 
and Son, king Solomon, the Woman of Canony, Meleager, and 
the dance of Maccabre^ At Durham-place we find the Citie of 
Ladies'*, the tapestrie of Thebes and of Troyc, the City of Peace, the 
Prodigal Son'', Esther, and other pieces of scripture. At Windsor 
castle the siege of Jerusalem, Ahasuerus, Charlemagne, the siege of 
Troy, and hawking and Jmnting^, At Nottingham castle, Amys and 
Amelion^. At Woodstock manor, the tapestrie of Charlemagne^. At 
the More, a palace in Herefordshire, king Arthur, Hercules, Astyages 
and Cyrus. At Richmond, the arras of Sir Bevis, and Virtue and Vice 
fighting^. Many of these subjects are repeated at Westminster, 
Greenwich, Oatlands, Beddington in Surrey, and other royal seats, 
some of which are now unknown as sucy°. Among the rest we have 
also Hannibal, Holofernes, Romulus and Remus, ^neas, and 
Susannah^^ I have mentioned romances written on many of these 

1 So in the record. But he was the third bishop of St. Paul's, London, son of king Offa, 
and a great benefactor to St. Paul's church, in which he had a most superb shrine. He was 
canonised. Dugdale, among many other curious particulars relating to his shrine, says, 
that in the j'ear 1339, it was decorated anew, when three goldsmiths, two at the wages of live 
shillings by the weei:, and one at eight, worked upon it for a whole year. History St. Paul's, 
p. 21. See also p. 233. 

2 This was a favorite subject for a large gothic window. This subject also composed a 
branch of candlesticks, thence called a Jesse, not imusual in the ancient churches. In the" 
year 1097, Hugo de Flori, abbot of S. Aust. Canterb. bought for the choir of his church a 
great branch candlestick. ' Candelabrum magnum in choro aeneum quod Jesse vocatiu' in 
'partibus emit transmarinis.' Thorn, Dec. Script, col. 1796. About the year 1330, Adam de 
Sodburj', abbot of Glastonbury, gave to his convent ' Unum dorsale laneum le Jesse.' Hearn. 
Joan. Glaston. p. 2C5. That is, a piece of tapestry embroidered with the stem of Jesse, to be 
hung round the choir, or other parts of the church on high festivals. He also gave a tapestry 
of this subject for the abbot's hall. Ibid. And I cannot help adding, what indeed is not im- 
mediately connected with the subject of this note, that he gave his monastery, among other 
costly presents, a great clock, ' procession bus et spectaculis insignilum,'an organ of prodigious 
size, and eleven bells, si.K for the tower of the church, and five for the clock tower. He also 
new vaulted the nave of the church, and adorned the new roof with beautiful paintings. Ibid. 

3 f. 6. In many churches of France there was an ancient show or mimicry, in which all ranks 
of life were personated by the ecclesiastics, who all danced together, and disappeared one after 
another. It was called Dance Maccaure, and seems to have been often performed in St. 
Innocent's at Paris, where was a famous painting on this subject, which gave rise to Lydgate's 

Eocm under the same title. See Carpent. Suppl. Du Cange, Lat. Gl. ii. p. 1103. Rlorc will 
c said of it when we come to Lydgate. 
•• A famous French allegorical romance. 

5 A picture on this favorite subject is mentioned in Shakespeare. And in Randolph's il/?«i?f 
Looking-Ciass. ' In painted cloth the story of the Prodigal.' Dodst. Old PI. vi. 2C0. 

?/b=9^- r V-^^^- '*f-364- «f-364. 

■I" bome of the tapestry at Hampton court, described in this invcntorj', is to be seen still in a 
fine old room, now remaining in its original stale, called the E.\chccquer. 

1' Montfaiicon, among the tapestry of Charles V., kuig of France, in the year 1370, mentions, 
Le tappis de la znc dii saint T/iesciis. Here the officer who made the entry calls Theseus a 
saint, TJte seven Deadly Sins, Le saint Graal, I^e ^raunt tappis de Neiif Preicx, Kiyne cT 
Ireland, and Godfrey if liitlloign.. Monum. Fr. lii. 64. I'hc ncuf J>rcux arc the Nine 
Worthies. Among the stores of Henry VIII, tal.ccn as above, we have ' two old stayncd clothes 

for the ix worthies of the grcale chamber,' at Newhall in Essex, f. 362. These were pictures. 
Again, at the palace of Westminster, in tlu little study called the Xeive Libraryc, which I 
believe was in Holbein's elegant Gothic gatehouse lately demolished, there is, ' Item, xii pic- 
■ tures of men on horscbacke of enamelled stuffc of the Nync Worlhios, and others upon 
square tables.' fc 188. MSS. Harl. 1419. iii supr. ^ 


subjects, and shall mention others. In the romance of Syr Guy, 
that hero's combat with the dragon in Northumberland is said to be 
represented in tapestry in Warwick castle. 

In Warwike the truth shall ye see 
In arras wrought ful craftely^. 

This piece of tapestry appears to have been in Warwick castle before 
the year 1398. It was then so distinguished and valued a piece of 
furniture, that a special grant was made of it by king Richard II. in 
that year, conveying ' that suit of arras hangings in Warwick castle, 
' which contained the story of the famous , Guy earl of Warwick, 
together with the castle of Warwick, and other possessions, to Thomas 
Holland, earl of Kent-.' And in the restoration' of forfeited property to 
this lord after his imprisonment, these hangings are particularly 
specified in the patent of king Henry IV., dated 1399. When Margaret, 
daughter of king Heniy VII., was married to James king of Scotland, 
in the year 1503, Holyrood House, at Edinburgh, was splendidly 
decorated on that occasion ; and we are told in an ancient record, that 
the ' hanginge of the quecnes grett chammer represented the ystory of 
' Troye toune.' Again, ' the king's grett chammer had one table, wer 
' was satt, hys chammerlayn, the grett sqyer, and many others, well 
' served ; the which chammer was haunged about with the story of 
' Hercules, together with other ystorys^.' And at the same solemnity, 
' in the hall wher the qwne's company wer satt in lyke as in the other, 
' an wich was haunged of the histoiy of Hercules, &c*.' A stately 
chamber in the castle of Hesdin in Artois, was furnished by a duke of 
Burgundy with the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece, about the 
year 1468''. The affecting stoty of Coucy's Heart, which gave rise to 
an old metrical English romance entitled, the Knight of Courtesy, 
and the Lady of Faguel, was woven in tapestry in Coucy castle in 
France''. I have seen an ancient suite of arras, containing Ariosto's 
Orlando and Angelica, where, at every groupe, the story was all along 
illustrated with short rhymes in romance or old French. Spenser 
sometimes dresses the superb bowers of his fairy castles with this sort 
of historical drapery. In Hawes's poem called the Pastlaie of 
Pleasure, written in the reign of Henry VII., of which due notice 
will be taken in its proper place, the hero of the piece sees all his future 
adventures displayed at large in the sumptuous tapestry of the hall of 
a castle. I have before mentioned the most valuable and perhaps 

1 Signal. Ca. t. Some perhaps may think this circumstance an innovation or addition of 
latter minstrels. A practice not uncommon. 

2 Dugd. Bar. i. p. 237. 3 Leland. Coll. vol. iii. p. 295. 296. Opuscul. edit. 1770. 
4 Ibid. 5 See Obs. Fair. Qu. i. p. 177. 

Howel's Letter.s, xx. §. vi. B. i. This is a true story, about the year iiSo. Fauchett re- 
lates it at large from an old authentic French chronicle; and then adds, ' Ainsi fincrint les 
'amours du Ohastelain du Couci et de la dame dc Faicl.' Our Castel;an, whose name is 
Rcgnard de Couci, was famous for his chansons and chivalrj', but more so for his unfortunate 
love, which became proverbial in the old French romances. Sec Fauch. Rcc. p. 124. 128. 


most ancient work of this sort now existing, the entire series of duke 
Wilham's descent on England, preserved in the church of Baycux in 
Normandy, and intended as an ornament of the choir on high festivals. 
Bartholinus relates, that it was an art much cultivated among the 
ancient Islanders, to weave the histories of their giants and champions 
in tapestry^. The same thing is recorded of the old Persians ; and 
this furniture is still in high request among many oriental nations, 
particularly in Japan and China^. It is well known, that to frame 
pictures of heroic adventures in needle-work, was a favourite practice 
of classical antiquity. 


Although much poetry began to be written about the reign of 
Edward II., yet I have found only one English poet of that reign whose 
name has descended to posterity-^. This is Adam Davy or Davie. He 
may be placed about the year 13 12. I can collect no circumstances of 
his life, but that he was marshall of Stratford-le-bow near London*. 
He has left several poems never printed, which are almost as forgotten 
as his name. Only one MSS. of these pieces now remains, which 
seems to be coeval with its author^. They are Visions, The Battell 
OF Jerusalem, The Legend of Saint Alexius, Scripture 
Histories, of fifteen toknes before the day of Judgement, 
Lamentations of Souls, and The Life of Alexander''. 

In the Visions, which are of the religious kind, Adam Davie draws 
this picture of Edward II. standing before the shrine of Edward 
the Confessor in Westminster abbey at his coronation. The lines have 
a strength arising from simplicity. 

To our Lorde Jeshu Crist in heven 
Iche to dayshawe mync swcven'^. 
That iche motte^ in one nycht, Of a knycht of mychel mycht : 

' Antiquit. Dan. Lib. i. 9. p. 51. 

- In the royal palace of Jeddo, which overflows with a profusion of the most exquisite and 
superb c-istem embellishments, the tapestry of the emperor's audience-hall is of the finest silk, 
wrought by the most shilful artificers of that country, and adorned with pearls, gold and silver. 
Mod. Univ. Hist. B. xiii. c. iL vol. ix. p. 83. (Not. G.) edit. 1759. 

p Robert de Brunne, above-mentioned, lived, and perhaps wrote some of his pieces, in this 
reign ; but he more properly belongs to the last. 

* This will appear from citations which follow. 

' MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Laud I. 74. fol. membran. It has been much damaged, and on that 
account i.s often illegible. 

' In the MS.S. there is also a piece in prose, intitlcd. The Pyl^rymages of the holi land. f. 
65.-66. It bigins, ' Owerr soever a cros standyth ther is a for ivenesof payne.' I think it is 
a description of the holy places, and it appears at least to be of the hand-writing of the rest. 

' Dream. 

8 Thought, dreamed. In the first sense, we have me victte in Chaucer, Non. Pr, T. v. 
1013. Urr. Acjl below. 



His name is ^ yhote fyr Edward the kyng, 
Prince of Wales Engelonde the fair thynge ; 
Me mott that he was armid wele, Bothe with yrne and with stele, 
And on his helme that was of stel, A coroune of gold bicom him wcl. 
Bifore the shryne of Seint Edward he stood, 
Myd glad chere and myld of mood \ 

Most of these Visions are compliments to the king. Our poet then 
proceeds thus : 

Another suevene me mette on a twcfnit ^ 
Bifore the fest of Alhalewen of that ilke knigt, 
His name is nempned* hure bifore, 
Blissed be the time that he was bore, &c. 
Of Syr Edward oure dcrworth ^ kyng 
Iche mette of him anothere faire metyng, &c. 
Me thought he wod upon an asse, 
And that ich take God to witnesse ; 
A wondur he was in a mantcll gray. 
Toward Rome he nom ^ his way, Upon his hevede sate a gray hure, 
It semed him wel a mesure ; He wood withouten hose and sho. 

His wonen was not so to do ; His shankes semeden al bloodrede, 

Mync herte wop '' for grete drede ; As a pylgrym he rood to Rome, 
And thider he com wel swithe sone. The thrid suevene me mette a nigt 
Rigt of that derworth knight : On Wednysday a nigt it was 

Next the dai of seint Lucie bifore Christenmasse, &c. 
Me thougth that ich was at Rome, And thider iche come swithe sone, 
The pope and syr Edward our kng, 
Bothe ^ hy hadde a new dublyng, &c. 
Thus Crist ful of grace Graunte our kyng in every place 

Maistrie of his witherwines And of al wicked Sarasynes. 

Me met a suevene one worthig ^ a nigth 
Of that ilche dervvorthi knigth, 
God iche it shewe and to witnesse take 
And so shilde me fro, &c. Into a chapel I cum of vre lefdy ^^, 

The Crist her leve ^^ son stod by. On rod'^he was an loveliche mon, 
Al thilke that on rode was don He unneled '-^ his honden two, &c. 

Adam the marchial of Stratf/ord atte Bowe 
Wel swithe wide his name is iknowc 
He himself mette this metyng. 
To witnesse he takcth Jhu hevene kynge, 
On Wedenyssday ^"^ in clcne leinte '^ 
A voyce me bede I schulde nougt feinte. 
Of the suevenes that her ben write 
I shulde swithe don ^"^ my lord kyng to wite. 
The Thursday next the beryng^" of our lefdy 
Me thougth an aungel com syr Edward by, &c. 

1 Named. 2 fol. 27. 3 Twelfth-night. « Named. 

5 Dear-worthy. « Took. ' Wept. 8 They. " Worpijl. Orig. 

10 Lady. 11 Dear 1= Crobs. !3 Unnailcd. 

1*1 Wodcnis day. Woden's day. Wednesday. 1^' Lent. 

l" Make haste. [Swithe don to wix.^, quickly let him hiow. — Ritson. 17 Christmas-day 


Iche tell you forsoth withoutten les', 

Als God of hcvene maide Marie to inoder ches^, 

The aungell com to mc Adam Davie and seide 

But thou y?<yr?;«she\ve this thee worthe welyvelmede,&c. 

Whoso wil spekc myd me Ada7n the marclial 

In Strctforde bowe he is yknown and over al, 

Iche nc schcwe nought this for to have mede 

Bot for God almigtties drede. 

There is a very old prose romance, both in French and Italian, on 
the subject of the Destruction oj Jerusalem^. It is translated from a 
Latin work, in five books, very popular in the middle ages, entitled, 
Hegesippi de BcUo Judaico et Excidio Urbis HicrosolyrnitancE Libri 
quiiiqite. This is a licentious paraphrase of a part of Josephus's 
Jewish history, made about the fourth century : and the name Hege- 
sippus is most probably corrupted from Joscphus, perhaps also called 
Josippus. The paraphrast is supposed to be Ambrose of Milan, who 
flourished in the reign of Theodosius*. On the subject of Vespasian's 
siege of Jemsalem, as related in this book, our poet Adam Davie has 
left a poem entitled the Battell OF Jerusalem^. It begins thus. 

Listeneth all that beth alyve, Both cristen men and wyve : 

I wol you telle of a wondur cas, How Jhesu Crist bihated was, 

Of the Jewes felle and kene, That was on him sithe ysene, 

Gospellcs I drawc to witnesse Of this matter more or lesse, &c. 

In the course of the storj^, Pilate challenges our Lord to single combat. 
This subject wiU occur again. 

Davie's Legend of saint Alexius the confessor, son of 
EUPHEJIIUS, is translated from Latin, and begins thus : 

All that willen here in ryme, Howe gode men in olde tyme, 

Loveden God almigth ; 
That weren riche, of grcte valoure, 
Kynges sones and empcroure 
Of bodies strong and ligth ; 
Zee habbeth yhcrde oftc in geste, Of holi men maken feste 
Both day and nigth, 

1 Lies. _ 2 'As sure as God chose the Virgin Mary to be Christ's Mother.' 

■' In an ancient inventory of books, all French romances, made in England in the reign of 
Edward III., I find the romance of Titus and Vespasian, Madox, Konniil. Anglican, p. 12. 
See also Scipio Maffei's Traduttori Italiani, p. 48. Crcscimbcni (Volg. Pbcs. vol. i. 1. 5. p. 
317) does not seem to have known of this romance in Italian. Du Cange mentions /,<r 
lioiitait de la Prise de Jerusalem par Titus in verse. Gloss. Lat. i. Ind. Auct. p. c.\civ. 
A metrical romance on this subject is in the royal MSS. 16 E. viii. 2. lirit. Mus. There is an 
old French play on this subject, acted in 1437. It was printed in 1491. fol. M. Beauchamps, 
Kcch. Fr. Thcat. p. 134. 

* He mentions Constantinople and New Rome : and the provinces of Scotia and Sa.xonia. 
From this work the Maccabees seem to have got into romance. It was first printed at Pans, 
f ■' i ■■ ' -Vmong the Bodleian MSS. there isamost beautiful copy of this book, believed to 
1 the Saxon times. 
' 'i-r part of ihis poem appears detached, in a former part ofour MSS.. with the title 
''.-■. \ i.M.i;Ai,Ncp. oi- GoDDES Death, viz. f. 22. b. This latter part begins with these lines. 
And at the fcmrty dayes ende^ Whider I woldc he bade me weadc, 

Upon the mount of oly vete, iic. 


For to have the joye in hevene 
(With aungells song, and merry stevene,) 
The wliich is brode and brigth : 
To you all heige and lowe The rigth sothe to biknowe 

Zour soules for to save, &c.^ 

Our author's SCRIPTURE HISTORIES want the beginning. Here they 
begin with Joseph, and end with Daniel. 

Ffor thritti pens ^ thei sold that childe 

The seller higth Judas, 
' Itho Ruben com him and myssed him 

For ynow he was*. 

from the prophet Jeremiah. 

The first signe thar ageins, as our lord hymselfe sede, 
Hungere schal on erthe be, trecherie, and falshede, 
Batteles, and littell love, sekenesse and haterede. 
And the erthe schal quaken that vche man schal ydrede : 
The mone schal turne to blood, the sunne to derkhede'', &c. 

Another of Davie's poems may be called the La]\ientation of 
Souls. But the subject is properly a congratulation of Christ's advent, 
and the lamentation of the souls of the fathers remaining in Umbo, for 
his delay. 

Off joye and blisse is my song care to bileve'', 

And to here hym among that altour soroug shal reve, 

Ycome he is that swete dewe, that swete hony drope, 

The kyng of alle kynges to whom is our hope : 

Becom he is our brother, whar was he so long ? 

He it is and no other, that bougth us so strong : 

Our brother we mowe^hym clepe wel so seith hymself ilome.' 

My readers will be perhaps surprised to find our language improve 
so slowly, and will probably think, that Adam. Davie writes in a less 
intelligible phrase than many more ancient bards already cited. His 
obscurity however arises in great measure from obsolete spelling, a 
mark of antiquity which I have here observed in exact conformity to a 
I\ISS. of the age of Edward II. ; and which in the poetry of his prede- 
cessors, especially the minstrell-pieces, has been often effaced by 
multiplication of copies, and other causes. In the mean time it should 
be remarked, that the capricious peculiarities, and even ignorance of 
transcribers, often occasion an obscurity, which is not to be imputed 
either to the author or his age^", 

^ IMS. ut siipr. {. 22. — 72. b. - Thirty-pence. 

3 Ipo. Orig. 4 MS. ut supr. f 66.-72. b. 5 Tokens. 

6 ^I.S, ut supr. f. 71. b. 7 Leave. 8 May; 9 Somclimes. 

10 Chaucer in Tkoilus and Cressida mentions 'the grctc diviisite in English, and z"a 
writine^ 0/ our tongue.' He therefore prays God, that no person would iniswritc, or miste- 
7netre\i\% poem, lib, ult. v. 1792. seq. 



But Davie's capital poem is the Life of Alexander, which de- 
serves to be pubhshed entire on many accounts. It seems to be 
founded chiefly on Simeon Seth's romance above-mentioned; but many 
passages are also copied from the French Roman d' Alexandre, a 
poem in our author's age perhaps equally popular both in England 
and France. It is a work of considerable length\ I will first give 
some extracts from the Prologue. 

Divers in this myddel erde 
Natheles wel felc and fulle 
That haddcn lever a rybaudye, 
Either to drynke a copful ale, 
Swichc ich wolde weren out bishet 

To lev/ed men and - lered, &c. 
Bcthc ifound in hart and skulle, 
Then here of god either seint Marye; 
Than to heren any gode tale : 
For certeynlich it were nett 

For hy ne habbeth wilbe ich woot wel 
Bot in the got and the barrel, &c.^ 

Adam Davie thus describes a splendid procession made by 

In thei tyme faire and jalyf*. Olympias that fayre wyfe, 

Woldcn make a riche fest Of knightes and lefdyes^ honest 

Of burges and of jugelors And of men of vch mesters*^, 

Formonseth by north and south'' Wymen 

AlychaP she desireth to shewe hire body, 
Her fayre hare, her face rody'', 

And al is folye by heven king. 

to ride and ryttes. 

Which ham .... thousands fele, 
Many thar rood^- in rich wise. 
Forto shawe hire gentyll face. 
With sadcl of gold, sambuc of sylke, 
And mony bell of sylver shene, 
That hangcn nerc do wnc to groundc : 
A thousand lefydes of rych soute^*^. 
So sat on the Icfdyc's fyst : 

To have lees^" and al praising 
She has marshales and knyttes 
And levadyes and demosile 
In fayre attyre in dyvcrs^'^ . . . , 
So dude the dame Olympias 
A mule also, whyte so^" mylke, 
Was ybrought to the cjucne 
Yfastencd on orfrcvs^'* of mounde 

Fourth she ferd'^ myd her route, 
A sperwek^" that was honest'*. 

Ffourctrompestoforne^'-'hireblewc; Many men that day hire knewe, 
Ahundred thousand, and ekemoo, Alle alonton-" hireuntoo. 
All the towne bihongcd^' was Agens-^ the Icfdy Olympias^^: 

2 Leg. Icrd. Learned. 

1 MS. ut supr. f. 2S.— 65. 

3 The work begins thus. f. 28. 

Whilom clarkes wel ylerede 
And cleped him in her maistrie. 
At Asie also mychel ys 

And ends with this distich, f. 65. 

Thus ended Alisander the kyng 

On thre digten this myddel erde, 
Europe, Affryk. and Asie : 
As Europe, aad Elfryke, I wis, &c. 

--J--0- God graunte us his blissyng. Amen. 

Molly. 8 Ladies. « Of each, or every, profession, trade, sort. 7 'All mankind are agreed.' 
■ M''ch. _ » Ruddy. W Praise. " Y. Guise. I'-i Rode. " As. 

" Embroidered work, cloth of gold. Aiiri/rigium, hat. 15 Fared. Wen 
*J^ -Sparrow-hawk. A hawk. 18 Well-bred. I'J Before. "0 Went 

ifi Sort. 

" 'Against her coming.' 

of the tournament in Chaucer, Knight's Tale, where the city is 
d. V. 2!;7o. Urr. 

^>cc the de<;cription 01 mi: njuriiaiiicnt in v^nauccr, i\.nizni s laie, wnere tne city li 
banged with cloth of gold. V. 2370. Urr. 
^^ ' ilung with tapcstrj'.' We find this ceremony practised at the entrance of lady Elizabeth 


Orgties, chymbes, vchemanerglee^, Was drynan ayen that levady fre, 
Wythoutin the toums- murey Was mered vche maner pley^, 

Thar was knyttes tornaying, Thar was maidens karohng, 

Thar was champions skirmynge"*, also wres'Jynge. 

Of lyons chace, and bare bay ting, A bay of bore^, of bole flayting*'. 
Al the city was byhonge 
With r)'che samytes'' and pelles^ longe. 
Dame Olympias, myd this prees'-*, Sangle roed^° al mantelless. — 
Hire yalewe har^^was fayre attired Mid riche strenge of gold v.yred, 
It helyd^" hire abouten al To hire gentil myddle smal. 

Bryght and shine was hir face^^ Everie fairhede^* in hir was^^. 

Much in the same strain the marriage of Cleopatras is described. 

There was many a blithe grome : 
Of olive and of ruge^** floures Weren ystrewed halle aud boures s 

Wyth samytes and baudekyns Weren curtayned the gardyns. 

All the innes of the ton Hadden litel foyson^'', 

That day that comin Cleopatras, So michel people with hir was. 
She rode on a mule white so mylke, 
Her harnej's were gold-beaten sylke : 
The prince hir lad of Sandas, And of Sydoyne Sir Jonachas. 

Ten thousand barons hir come myde, 
And to chirche with hir r>-de. 
Yspoused she is and set on deys : 
Nowe gynneth gestes of grete nobleys : 
At the fest was harpyng And pipying and tabourjmg^^ 

queen of Henry the seventh, into the city of London. — ' Al the strets ther whiche she should 
* passe by wer clenly dressed and besene with cloth, of tapestrye and arras, and some streetes, 
' as Chepe, hanged with riche clothes of golde, velvettes, aud silkes.' This was in the year 
1481. Leland. Coll. in Opuscul. p. 220. edit. 1770. 

1 ' Organs, chimes, all manner of music. - The to'wn wall. 

3 'All sorts of sports.' ■* Skirmishing. 5 'Baying, or bayting of the boar.' 

^ Slaying bulls, bull-feasts. Chaucer says that the chamber of Venus was painted with 
white talis greic' Compl. of Mars and Ven. v. 86. 7 Satin. ° Skins. 

9 Croud. Company. li> Rode single. H Yellow hair. 

12 'Covered her all over.' 13 fol. 55. a. 14 Beauty. 

15 John Gower, who lived 100 years after our author, has described the same procession. 
Confess. Amant. lib. vi. fol. 137. a. b. edit. Berthel. 1554. 

But in that citee then was The quenc, whiche Olimpias 

Was bote, and with solempnitee The feste of hir nativitee. 

As it befell, was than hold . And for hir lust to be behold. 

And preised of the people about. She shop hir for to ridcnout, 

Al aftir meet al opinly, Anon al men were redie ; 

And that was in the month of Maie : This lusty quene in gode araie 

Was sctle upon a mule white To sene it was a grete delite 

The joye that the citie made. With fresh things and with glade 

The noble townc was al behonged ; And everie wight was son alongcd 

To see this lustie ladie ryde.. There was great mirth on al syde. 

When as she passed by the streate There was ful many a tymbre beate. 

And many a maidc carolende. And thus throughout the town plaiende- 

This quene unto the plaiene rode Whar that she hoved and abode 

To se divers games plaie, The lustie folke joust and tornaye. 

And so couth every other man Which play with, his play began. 
To please with this noble queen. 

Gower continues this story, from a romance mentioned above, to fol. 140. 
18 Red« 17 Provision. 18 fol. 63. a. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 151 

We have frequent opportunities of observing, how the poets of these 
times engraft the manners of chivalry on ancient classical history. In 
the following lines, Alexander's, education is like that of Sir Tristram. 
He is taught tilting, hunting, and hawking. 

Now can Alexander of skirmyng, And of stedes derayning, 

Upon stedes of justyng, And witte swordes turneyihg, 

Of assayling and defendyng : In green wood and of huntyng : 

And of ryver of haukyng^ : Of battaile and of alle thyng. 

In another place Alexander is mounted on a steed of Narbone ; and 
amid the solemnities of a great feast, rides through the hall to 
the high table. This was no uncommon practice in the ages of 

On a stede of Narabone, 

He dassheth forth upon thi londe. The ryche coroune on hys honde, 
Of Nicholas that he wan : 
Beside hym rydeth mony a gentil man, 
To the paleys he comethe ryde, 
And fyndeth this feste and all this pryde ; 

Fforth good Alisaundre sauns stable Righth unto the hith table. 

His horse Bucephalus," who even in classical fiction is a horse of 
romance, is thus described. 

An home in the forehead armyd ward 
That wolde perce a shelde hard. 

To which these lines may be added, 

/Misaunder arisen is And in his deys sitteth ywys : 

His dukes and barons sauns doute 
Stondeth and sitteth him aboute, &c. 

The two following extracts are in a softer strain, and not inelegant 
for the rude simplicity of the times. 

Mery is the blast of the stynoure^, 
Mery is the touchyng of the harpoure* : 

1 Chaucer, R. of Sir Thop. v. 3245. Urry's edit. p. 145. 

He couth hunt al the wild dere. And ride an hnivkyug hy the rivere. 

Shall y a ryde O71 ha^ukyng by tlic river syde. 

Chaucer, FrankUins Tale, v. 1752. p. iii. Urr. edit. 

These fauconers upon a faire rivere That with the hawkis han the Juroii slaine. 

-See Observations on the Fairy Queen, i. § v. p. 146. 
3 I cannot explain this word. It is a wind-instrument. 

^ This poem has likewise, in the same vein, the following well-known old rhyme, which 
paints the manners, and is perhaps the true reading, fol. C4. 

Merry swithe it is hallc AVhcn the berdes waveih alle. 

And in another place we have. 

Merry it is in halle to here the harpe ; The mlnslrcUes syngc, the jogelours carpe; 

fol. iiiie num. adfin. 
Here, by the way, it appears, that the minstrels and juglcrs were distinct characters. So 


Sweete is the smellynge of the flower, 
Sweete it is in maydens bower : 
Appel sweete beneth faire coloure, 


In tyme of Maye the nightingale In wood maketh mery gale, 
So don the foules grete and smale. Sum in hylles and sum in dale. 

Much the same vernal delights, cloathed in a similar style, with the 
addition of knights turneying and maidens dancing, invite king Philip 
on a progress ; who is entertained on the road with hearing tales of 
ancient heroes. 

Mery tyme yt is in Maye The foules syngeth her lay. 

The knightes loveth to tournay ; Maydens do dauncen and theyplay. 

The kyng ferth rydeth his journay, Now hereth gests of grete noblay'^. 

Our author thus describes a battle. 

Alisaundre tofore is ryde. 

And many gentill a knigth hym myde ; 
As for to gader his meigne free. He abideth under a tree : 
Ffourty thousand of chy valeric He taketh in his compaignye, 

He dassheth hym than fast forthward, 

And the other cometh afterward, 
He seeth his knigttes in meschief, He taketh it gretlich a greef, 

He takes Bultyphal^ by thi side, 

So as a swalewe he gynneth forth glide, 
A duke of Perce sone he mett And with his launce he h>Tn grett, 

He perceth his breny, cleveth his shelde. 

The herte tokeneth the yrne ; 
The duke fel downe to the grounde, And starf quickly in that stounde : 
Alisaunder aloud than seide, Other tol never ich ne paiedc, 

Zut zee schullen of mync paie. Or ich gon mor affaie. 

Another launce in honde he hent Again the prince of Tyre he went 

He .... hym thorow the brest and thare^ 

And out of sadel and crouthe hym bare. 
And I sigge for soothe thyng He braak his neck in the fallyng. 

with mychell wonder, Antiochus hadde hym under. 

And with swerd wolde his heved From his body habbe yreved : 

He seig Alisaundre the gode gome, Towardes hym swithe come, 
He lete his pray, and flew on hors, Ffor to save his owen cors : 
Antiochus on stede lep. Of none woundes ne tok he kep. 

And eke he had foure forde All ymadc with speres ord^. 

Tholomeus and alle his felawen* Of this socour so weren welfawcn 

Alysaunder made a cry hardy ' Ore tost aby aby.' 

Robert de Brunne, in describing the coronation of king Arthur, apud Anstis, Ord. Gart. 
i. p. 304. 

Jogcleurs wcrther inouh That wer queltise for the drouh, 

Mynstrels many with dyvers glew, &c. 

And Chaucer mentions ' mytistreh and e/:c jo^loitnJ Rom. R. v. 764. But they are often 
confounded or made the same. 
1 Bucephalus. ^ Sic. 3 Point. * Fellows. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 1 53 

Then the knigttcs of Achaye Justed with them of Arabye, 

Thoo^ of Rome with hem of Mode Many londo ........ 

Egipte justed with liem of Tyre, Simple knigtts with rich syre : 

Thcr nas forcgift ne forberyng Bitwene vavasoure''' ne kyng 

To fore men migtten and by hynde 

Cuntecke seke and cunteckc^ fynde. 

With Perciens fougtten the Gregcys'* ; 

Ther wos cry and gret hontcys''. 
They kidden" that they wercn mice They broken speres alto slice. 
Thcr migth knigth fynde his pcre, Ther les" many his dcstrere^ : 
Thcr was quyk in litell thrawe^, Many gentill knigth yslawe : 

IMany arme, many heved^"^ Some from the body reved : 

Many gentill lavedy^^ Ther. les quyk her amy^^. 

Ther was many maym yled^^ Many fair pensel bibled^* : 

Thcr was swerdes liklakyng^'', There was speres bathing^*^ 

Both kynges ther saunz doute Beeth in dassht with al her route. 

Speke The other his harmes for to wreke. 

]\Iany londes neir and fcrre Lesten her lord in that werre. 

, . quaked of her rydyng, The wedar^" thicked of her cryeyng: 

The blode of hem that weren yslawe 

Ran by floods to the lowe, &c. 

I have already mentioned Alexander's miraculous horn. 

He blew'e in home quyk sans doute, 
His folk hym swithes^* aboute : 
And hem he said with voice clere, 
Iche bidde frendes that ge ine here 
Alisaunder is comen in this londe 
With strong knittes with migty honde. Sec. 

Alexander's adventures in the deserts among the Gymnosophists, 
and in Indc, are not omitted. The authors whom he quotes for his 
vouchers, shew the reading and ideas of the times. 

Tho Alisaunder went thoroug desert, 

Many wonders he seig apert^'-*, 
Whiche he dude wel descryve, By godes clcrkes in her Ip-e ; 

By Aristotle his maistr that was, Beeter clerk sithcn non nas : 

He was with him, and sew and wroot, 

All thise wondre god is woot ; 

Salomon that al the world thoreug yedc \> 

In soothe witnesse held hym myde. 
Ysidre^o also that was so wys In his boke tclleth this : 

Maister Eustrogc bcreth hym witnesse, 

Of the wondres more and less. 

1 They. 2 Lost. 3 Servant. Subject. 4 Horse. Lat Dextrartus. " Strife. 

C Slujrttlmc. 7 Greeks. «Head. « Sh.imc. 10 Lady 

n Thought, [shewed] 12 p.iramour. 13 'Led along, maimed, wounded.' 

H ' .Many a rich banner, or flajj, sprinkled with blood.' 1' CLashing. 

1" MSS. Jjapine. 1 do not understand the word, 17 Weather. Sky. 

J" Came, followed. 1» S.iw openly. 

-'^Isidore. He means, 1 suppose, Isidorus Hispalcnsis, a Latin writer of the seventh 


Seynt Jerome gii schullen ywyte Them hath also in book ywryte : 

And Magestene, the gode clerk Hath made thereof mychel werk, 

. . . that was of gode memorie 

It sheweth al in his boke of storie : 

And also Pompie^, of Rome lorde.. 

. . . , writen everie worde. 

Bie heldeth me thareof no fynder^ 

Her bokes ben my shewer : 
And the Lyf of Alysaunder Of whom fleig so riche sklaimder. 

Gif gee willeth give listnyng, 

Nowe gee shuUen here gode thyng. 
In somcrs tyde the daye is long, Foules syngeth and maketh song: 

Kyng Alysawnder }^vent is, 

With dukes, erles, folks of pris, 

With many knights, and douty men, 

Towards the city of Fa .... aen ; 

After kyng Porus, that flowen^ was 

Into the citee of Bandas, 
He woulde wende thorough desert This wonders to sene apert, 
Gromyes he nome* of the londe, Ffyve thousand, I understonde. 

That hem shulden lede lyht^ 

Thoroug deserts, by day and nyth. 

The Sy . . res loveden the kyng nougth. 

And wolden have him bicaugth. 

Thii ledden hym therefore, als I fynde, 

In the straungest peril of Ynde : 
As so iche fynd in thi book Thii weren asshreynt in her crook. 

Now rideth Alysaunder with his oost, 

With mychel pryde and mychel boost : 
As ar hii comen to a castel . . ton, I schullen speken another lesson. 
Lordynges, also I fynde At Mede so bigynneth Ynde, 

Fforsothe ich woot it stretcheth ferrest 

Of all the londes in the Est 
And oth'' the southhalf sikerlyk To the see of Affryk, 

And the north half to a mountayne 

That is ycleped Caucasayne'' : 
Fforsothe zee shullen undirstonde Twyes is somer in that londe, 
And nevermore wynter, ne chele^, That lond is ful of all wele. 

Twyes hii gaderen fruyt there 

And Wynne and cornc in one yere. 
In the londe also I iynd of Ynde Bene cities fyve-thousynd, 

Withouten ydlcs, and castelis, 

And borugh tounncs swithc feles^. 

In the londe of Ynde thou migth lere 

Vyve thousand folk of selcouth^" manere 

That thcr non is other ylyche 

Bie holde thou it nought ferlyche, 

1 He means Justin's Trogus Pompcius the historian, whom he confounds with Pompey 
the Great. ~ ' IJon'i look on me as the inventor.' • 3 Fled. * Took, 

5 Strait. C MbS. rjjjje. 7 Caucasus. 

8 ChilL Cold. 3 Very many. •i" Uncommon. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 1 55 

And bi that thou understande the gestcs, 
Both of men and of bcstes, &:c. 

Edward II. is said to have carried with him to the siege of Stirling 
Castle, in Scotland, a poet named R.obert Baston. He was a carmelite 
friar of Scarborough ; and the king intended that Baston, being an 
eye witness of the expedition, should celebrate his conquest of Scot- 
land in verse. Hollingshead, an historian not often remarkable for 
penetration, mentions this circumstance as a singular proof of 
Edward's presumption and confidence in his undertaking against 
Scotland : but a poet seems to have been a stated officer in the royal 
retinue when the king went to war^. Baston, however, appears to have 
been chiefly a Latin poet, and therefore does not properly fall into 
our series. At least his poem on the siege of Striveling castle is 
written in monkish Latin hexameters^ : and our royal bard being 
taken prisoner in the expedition, was compelled by the Scotch to 
write a panegyric, for his ransom, on Robert Brus, which is composed 
in the same style and language^. Bale mentions his Pocniata, et 
Rhythmia TragadicB et Comwdia; vulgares'^. Some of these indeed 
appear to have been \\Titten in English : but no English pieces of this 
author now remain. In the meantime, the bare existence of dramatic 
compositions in England at this period, even if written in the Latin 
tongue, deser\^e notice in investigating the progress of our poetry. 
For the same reason I must not pass over a Latin piece, called a 
comedy, written in this reign, perhaps by Peter Babyon ; who by Bale, 
is styled an admirable rhetorician and poet, and flourished about the 
year 1317. This comedy is thus entitled in the Bodleian manuscript, 
De Babione et Croceo domino Babionis et Viola filiastra Babionis quam 
Croceus duxit invito Babione, et Percula tcxore Babionis et Fodio suo, 
^'c? It is written in long and short Latin verses, without any appear- 
ances of .dialogue. In what manner, if ever, this piece was represented 
theatrically, cannot easily be discovered or ascertained. Unless we 
suppose it to have been recited by one or more of the characters 
concerned, at some public entertainment. The story is in Gower's 
CONFESSIO Amantis. Whether Gower had it from this performance 
I will not enquire. It appears at least that he took it from some 
previous book 

1 Hubert Lcland. Script. Brit. p. 338. Hollingsh. Hist. ii. p. 217. 220. Tanner mentions, 
as a poet of England, one Gulielmus Peregrinus, who accompanied Richard I. into tlic holy 
land, and sung his achievements there in a Latin poem, entitled Odoki'DKIcon Ricardi 
Regis, lib. i. It is dedicated to Herbert archbishop of Canterbury, and Stephen, 
a capt.iin in the expedition. He flourished about A. D. 1200. Tan. Bibl. p. 591. Voss. Hist. 
Lat. p. 441. He Ls called 'pocta per cam xtatem cxcellcns.' Bal. iii. 45. Pits. 266. 

S It is extant in Fordun's Scoti-chron. c. xxiii. I. 12. 

3 Lcland. ut supr. And MSS. HarL 1819. Brit. Mus. Also Wood, Hist. Aiit. Univ. 
Oxon. p. 10 1. 

* Apud Tanner, p. 79. C Arch. B. 52. 


I find writte of Babio, 
Which had a love at his menage Thcr was no fairer of hir age, 

And hight Viola by name, &c. 
And had aftaited to his hande His servant, the which Spodiiis 
Was hote, &c. A fresh, a free and friendly man, Sec, 

Which Croceus by name hight, &c^. 

In the mean time it seems most probable, that this piece has been 
attributed to Peter Babyon, on account of the likeness of the name 
Babio, especially as he is a ridiculous character. On the whole, there 
is nothing dramatic in the structure of this nominal comedy ; and it 
has certainly no claim to that title, onlj^ as it contains a familiar and 
comic story carried on with much scurrilous satire intended to raise 
mirth. But it was not uncommon to call any short poem, not serious 
or tragic, a comedy. In the Bodleian MSS., which comprehends 
Babyon's poem just mentioned, there follows Comedia de Geta : 
this is in Latin long and short verses-, and has no marks of dialogue. 
In the library of Corpus Christi college at Cambridge, is a piece 
entitled Comedia ad monasteriian de Hiilme oj-dinis S. Benedicti 
Dioces. Norivic. directa ad Refor7nationein seqicejitem, ctijtcs data est 
prima dieSeptembris sub anjio Christi 1477, et a inorte yoaimis Fastolfe 
militis eo?'itjn bcilefactoris^ precipui 17, i7i cttjiis mottasterii ecclcsia 
Jaimatur*. This isnothingmorethan a satyrical ballad in Latin ; yet some 
allegorical personages are introduced, which however are in no respect 
accommodated to scenical representation. About the reign of Edward 
IV., one Edward Watson, a scholar in grammar at Oxford, is permitted 
to proceed to a degree in that faculty, on condition that within two 
years he would write one hundred verses in praise of the university, 
and also compose a COMEDY^ The nature and subject of Dante's 
Comedies, as they are styled, is well known. The comedies ascribed 
to Chaucer are probably his Canterbury tales. We learn from 
Chaucer's own words, that tragic tales were called Tragedies. In the 
Prologue to the Monkes Tale. 

Tragedy is to tell a certaine story. 

As old bokis makin ofte memory. 

Of hem that stode in grete prosperite. 

And be fallen out of her high degree, ^cc". 
Some of these, the Monke adds, were written in prose, others in metre. 
Afterwards follow many tragical narratives : of which he says, 

1 Lib. V. f. 109. b. Edit. Berth. 1554. 

2 Carmina composuit, voluitque placere poeta. 

3 In the episcopal palace of Norwicn is a curious piece of old wainscot brought from the 
monastery of Hulmc at the time of its dissolution. Among other antique ornaments are the 
arms of Sir John FalstafF, their principal benefactor. This magnificent knight was also a 
benefactor to Magdalene College in O.xford. He bequeathed estates to that society, part of 
which were appropriated to buy liveries for some of the senior scholars. But this benefaction, 
in time, yielding no more than a penny a week to the scholars who received the hveries, they 
were called, by way of contempt, Falstaff's hickram-men. 

4 Miscell. M. p. 274. 5 Hist. Antiq. Univ. Oxon. ii. 4. col. 2. 
6 V. 85. Also, ibid. V. 103. 7S6. 875. 

WARTON'S history op ENGLISH POETRY. 1 57 

Tragedies first wol I tell 

Of which I have an liunderd in my cell. 

Lidgate further confirms what is here said with regard to comedy as 
well as tragedy : 

My maister Chaucer with fresh comedies, 
Is dead, alas ! chief poet of Britaine : 
That whilom made ful piteous tragedies^. 

The stories in the Mirror of Magistrates are called tragedies, 
so late as the sixteenth century-. Bale calls his play, or Mystery, of 
God's Promises, a tragedy, which appeared about the year 1538. 

I must however, observe here, that dramatic entertainments, repre- 
senting the lives of saints and the most eminent scriptural stories, 
were known in England for more than two centuries before the reign 
of Edward II. These spectacles they commonly styled miracles. I 
have already mentioned the play of St. Catharine, acted at Dunstaple 
about the year mo. William Fitz-Stephen, a writer of the twelfth 
century, in his DESCRIPTION OF LONDON, relates that, ' London, for 
its theatrical exhibitions, has holy plays, or the representation of 
' miracles wrought by confessors, and of the sufferings of martyrs^.' 
These pieces must have been in high vogue at our present period ; for 
iVIatthew Paris, who wrote about the year 1240, says that they were 
such as ' MiRACULA vulgariter appellamus*.' And we learn 
from Chaucer, that in his times Plays of Miracules were the 
common resort of idle gossips in Lent. 

Therefore made I my visitations, 

To prechings eke and to pilgrimagis. 

To Plays of Miracles, and mariagis, &c5. 

This is the genial Wife OF Bath, who amuses herself with these 
fashionable diversions, while her husband is absent in London, during 
the holy season of Lent. And in Pierce Plowman's Crede, a piece 

1 Prol. F. Pr. V. i. Also Chaucer's Troil. and Br. v. 17S5. 1787. 

- The elegant Fontenelle mentions one Parasols a Limosin, who wrote Cinque belles lLTt.\- 
ov-^x^s des gestcs de yeanuc reinc de Naples, about the year 1383. Here he thinks he has 
discovered, so early as the fourteenth century, 'une Poete tragique.' I have never seen these 
five Tragedies, nor perhaps had Fontenelle. But I will venture to pronounce, that they are 
nothing more than five tragical narratives : Queen Jane murdered her four husbands, and was 
afterwards herself put to death. Fontcnelle's Hist, do Thcatr. Fr. Oevr. torn, trois. p. 20. 
edit. Paris, 1742. lamo. Nor can I believe that the Tragedies a.nCi Comedies, as they are 
called, of Anselm Fayditt, and other early troubadours, had anything dramatic. It is worthy 
of notice, tliat pope Clement the seventh rewarded Parasols for his five tragedies with two 
canonries. Compare Rechcrches sur les Theatr. de France, par M. de Beauchamps, Paris, 
1735- 4K>- P- 65- 

^ * ' Lundonia pro spectaculis theatralibus, pro ludis sccnicis, ludos habet sanctiores, repre- 
^sentationcs miraculorum qua: sancti confessores operati sunt, seu represcntationes passionunx 

quibus claniit constantia martyrum.' Ad calc. Stowe's SutfVKV of London, p. 480. edit. 
1599- The reader will observe, that I have construed sanctiores in a positive sense, Fitz- 
Stcphen mentions at the end of his tract, 'Impcralriccm Matildem, Hcnricum regcm tertium, 

i;t be.-itum Thomam. &c.' p. 483. Henry III. did not accede till the year I3i6. Ptrliapa 
he implicdy«/»>-7«K rcgem tertium. 

•• Vit. Abbat. ad calc. Hist. p. 56. edit. 1670. 
» ProL Wif. B. V. 555. p. 80. Urr. 


perhaps prior to Chaucer, a friar Minorite mentions these MIRACLES 
as not less frequented than markets or taverns. 

We haunten no tavernes, ne hobelen abouten, 
Att markets and Miracles we medeley us never\ 

Among the plays usually represented by the guild of Corpus Christi at 
Cambridge, on that festival, LuDUS filiorum. Israelis was acted 
in the year 1355^. Our drama seems hitherto to have been almost 
entirely confined to religious subjects, and these plays were nothing 
more than an appendage to the specious and mechanical devotion of 
the times. I do not find expressly, that any play on a profane sub- 
ject, either tragic or comic, had as yet been exhibited in England. 
Our very early ancestors scarce knew any other history than that of 
their religion. Even on such an occasion as the triumphant entry of 
a king or queen into the city of London, or other places, the pageants 
were almost entirely scripturaP. Yet I must observe, that an article 
in one of the pipe-rolls, perhaps of the reign of king John, and con- 
sequently about the year 1200, seems to place the rudiments of his- 
trionic exhibition, I mean of general subjects, at a much higher period 
among us than is commonly imagined. It is in these words. ' Nicola 
uxor Gerardi de CanviU, reddit computum de centum marcis pro 
maritanda Matildi filia sua cuicunque voluerit, exceptis MIMICIS 
regis*.' — ' Nicola, wife of Gerard of Canville, accounts to the king for 
one hundz'ed marks for the privilege of marrjdng his daughter Maud 
to whatever person she pleases, the king's ISIIMICS excepted.' 
Whether or no MIMICI REGIS are here a sort of players kept in the 
king's household rfor diverting the court at stated seasons, at least with 
performances of mimicry and masquerade, or whether they may not 
strictly imply Minstrells, I cannot indeed determine. Yet we may 
remark, that MoiiCUS is never used for MiMUS, that certain theatrical 
entertainments called mascarades, as we shall see below, were very 
ancient among the French, and that these MmiCl appear, by the con- 
text of this article, to have been persons of no very respectable cha- 

1 Sigiiat. A. iii. b. edit. 1561. 

- Master's Hist. C. C. C. C. p. 5. vol. i. What was the antiquity of the Guary-Miracle, or 
Miracle-Play in Cornwall, has net been determined. In the Bodleian library are three 
Cornish interludes, written on parchment. B. 40. Art. In the same librarj' there is also 
another, written on paper in the year 1611. Arch. B. 31. Of this last there is a translation 
in the British Museum, MSS. Harl. 1867. 2. It is entitled, the Ckf,.\tion of the World. 
It is called a Cornish play or opera, and said to be written by Mr. William Jordan. The trans- 
lation into English was made by John Keigwin of Moushole in Cornwall, at the request of 
Trelawney, bishop of E.xeter, 1691. Of this William Jordan I can give no account. In the 
British Museum there is an ancient Cornish poem on the death and resurrection of Christ. 
It is on vellum, and has some ru''" pictures. The beginning and end are lost. The writing 
is supposed to be of the fifteenth century. MSS. Harl. 1782, 4to. See the learned Lwhyd's 
Archjcol, Brit. p. 265. And Borla-se's Cornwall, Nat. Hist. p. 205. edit. 1758. 

3 When our Henry VI. entered Paris in 1431, in the quality of king of France, he was met 
at the gate of St. Denis by a Dumb Shew, representing the birth of the Virgin Mary, and 
her marriage, the adoration of the three kings, and the parable of the sower. This pageant 
indeed was given by the French : but the readers of HoUingshead will recollect many instances 
immediately to our purpose. Monstrclet. apud Fonten. Hist. Theatr. ut supr. p. 37. 

4 Rot. incert. ut videtur Reg. Johann. Apud. MSS. James, Bibl. Bodl. vii. p. 104. 


racter^ I likewise find in the wardrobe-rolls of Edward III., in the 
year 1348, an account of the dresses, ad faciendum LUDOS domini 
regis ad ffestitm Natalis Dovmii celcbraios apnd G^ddeford, for fur- 
nishing the plays or sports of the king, held in the castle of Guildford 
at the feast of Christmas^. In these LUDI, says my record, were 
expended eighty tunics of buckram of various colours, 42 visours of 
various similitudes, that is, 14 of the faces of women, 14 of the faces 
of men with beards, 14 of heads of angels, made with silver; twenty- 
eight crests'"', 14 mantles embroidered with heads of dragons : 14 white 
tunics wrought with heads and wings of peacocks, 14 heads of swans 
with wings, 14 tunics painted with eyes of peacocks, 14 tunics of 
English linen painted, and as many tunics embroidered with stars of 
gold and silver'*. In the rolls of the wardrobe of king Richard II, in 
the 3"ear 1391, there is also an entry which seems to point out a sport 
of much the same nature. ^Vxo^^xciiifs de tela linca pro hominibus 
' de lege contrafactis pro LUDO regis tempore natalis domini anno xii''.' 
That is, for twenty-one linen coifs for counterfeiting men of the law in 

* the king's play at Christmas.' It will be sufficient to add here on the 
last record, that the Serjeants at law at their creation, anciently wore 
a cap of linen, lawn, or silk, tied under the chin : this was to distinguish 
them from the clergy who had the tonsure. Whether in both these 
instances we are to understand a dumb shew, or a dramatic interlude 
with speeches, I leave to the examination of those who are professedly 
making enquiries into the history of our stage from its rudest origin. 
But that plays on general subjects were no uncommon mode of enter- 
tainment in the royal palaces of England, at least at the commence- 
ment of the fifteenth century, may be collected from an old memoir of 
shews and ceremonies exhibited at Christmas, in the reign of Henry 
VII, in the palace of Westminster. It is in the year 1489. 'This 

* cristmas I saw no disguysings, and but rigid few PLAYS. But ther 
' was an abbot of Misrule, that made much sport, and did right well his 

1 John of Salisbury, who wrote about 1160, says, 'Histriones et mimi non possunt rcciperQ 
'sacram communionem.' Policrat. i. 8. 

2 Comp. J. Cooke, Provisoris Magnse Garderob. ab ann. 21. Edw. i. ad ann. 23. Membr. i.\-. 

3 I do not perfectly understand the Latin original in the place, viz. ' xiiij Crestes cum tibiis 
'revcrsatLs et calceatis, xiiij C?r^^^^ cum montibus et cuniculis.' Among the stufTs are'viii 
'pcllcs de Roan.' In the same wardrobe rolls, a little above, I find this entry, which relates 
to the same festival. ' Et ad faciendum vi. pcnnecellos pro tubis et clarionibus contra ffcstum 
'natalis domini, de syndone, vapulalos de armis regis quartcllatis.' Membr. ix. 

* Some perhaps may think, that these were dresses for a Masque at court. If so, HoUings- 
head is mistaken in saying, that in the year 1512, ' on the dale of Epiphanic at night, the king 
'with eleven others were disguised after the manner of Italic called a maske, a thing net seen 
' Ufore in England. They were apparelled in garments long and broad, wrought all with 
'gO(d, with visors and caps of gold, S:c.' Hist. vol. iii. p. S12. a. 40. Besides, these maskings 
most probably came to the English, if from Italy, through the medium of France. Hollings- 
hcad contradicts himself : for in another pl.acc he seems t<j allow their existence under our 
Hcnr>' IV., A.D. 1400. 'The conspirators meant upon the sudden to have set upon the king 
'in the castcll of Windsor, under colour of a jnaske or inuvintcrie. &'c.' ibid. p. 515. b. 50. 
Str>-pe says there were Pacrau.nts exhibited in London when fijieen Eleanor rode through 
the city to her coronation in 1236. And for the victory over the bcots by Edward I. in 1298, 
Anccdot. Brit. Topograph, p. 725. Lond. edit. 1768. 

B Comp. MagQ. Cardcrob. an. 14 Kic. ii. f. 193. b. 


' office.' And again, ' At nyght the kynge the queene, and my ladye 
' the kynges moder, cam into the Whitehall,' and ther hard a Play^". 
As to the religious dramas, it was customary to perform this species 
of play on holy festivals in or about the churches. In the register of 
William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, under the year 1384, an 
episcopal injunction is recited, against the exhibition of Spectacula 
in the cemetery of his cathedral^. Whether or no these were dramatic 
Spectacles, I do not pretend to decide. In several of our old scrip- 
tural plays, we see some of the scenes directed to be represented 
ctim ca7iiu et organiSy a common rubric in the missal. That is, because 
they were performed in a church where the choir assisted. There is a 
curious passage in Lambarde's Topographical. Dictionary written about 
the year 1570, much to our purpose, which I am therefore tempted to 
transcribe^. ' In the dayes of ceremonial religion, they used at Wyt- 
' ney (in Oxfordshire) to set fourthe yearly in maner of a shew, or 
' interlude, the resurrection of our Lord, &c. For the which purposes, 
'and the more lyvely hcareby to exhibite to the eye the hole action of the 
' resurrection, the priestes garnished out certain smalle puppettes, 
' representing the persons of Christe, the watchmen, Marie, and others ; 
' amongest the which, one bare the parte of a wakinge watchman, who 
' espiinge Christe to arise, made a continual noyce, like to the sound 

* that is caused by the metynge of two styckes, and was thereof com- 
' monly called J^acA Snackcr of Wytney. The like toye I myself, 
' beinge then a childe, once sawe in Poule's churche at London at a 

* feast of Whitsuntyde ; wheare the comynge downe of the Holy 
' Ghost was set forthe by a white pigion, that was let to fly out of a 
' hole that -yet is to be sene in the mydst of the roofe of the greate ile, 

* and by a longe censer which descendinge out of the same place 
' almost to the verie grounde, was swinged up and downe at suche a 
' lengthe, that it reached with thone swepe almost to the west-gate of 
' the churche, and with the other to the quyre staires of the same ; 
' breathinge out over the whole churche andcompanie a most pleasant 
' perfume of suche swete thinges as burned therein. With the like 
' doome shewes also, they used everie where to furnish sondrye parts 
' of their church service, as by their spectacles of the nativitie, passion, 
' and ascension, &c.' 

This practice of acting plays in churches, was at last grown to such 

1 Lclaiid. Coll. iii. Append, p. 256. edit. 1770. 

2 Rcgistr. lib. iii. f. 88. ' Canere Cantilenas, ludibriorum spcctncula facere, faltationes et 
' alios ludos inhonestos frequentare, choreas, &c.' So in Statut. Eccles. Nannett. A.D. 
' 1405 No. 'mimi vcl jociilatores, ad vtonstra lafc'anun in ecclesia et cemeterio,' are per- 
mitted. Marten. Thesaur. Anecd, iv. p. 993. And again. 'Joculatores, histriones, salta- 
' trices, in ecclesia, cemeterio, vel porticu.— nee aliqujc chorea;.' Statut. Synod. Eccles. 
Leod. A.D.. 1287. apud. Marten, ut supr. p. 846. Fontenelle say.s, that anciently among the 
French, comedies were acted after divine service, in the church-yard. 'Au sortir du serrrion 
' ces bonnes gens alloient a la Covtedic, c'est a dire, qu'ils changeoint de Sermon.' Hist. 
Theatr. ut supr. p. 24. But these were scriptural comedies, and they were constantly pre- 
ceded by a Benedicite, by way of prologue. The French stage will occur again below. 

3 Pag. 459. edit. 1730. 4to. 


an enormity, and attended with such inconvenient consequences, that 
in the reign of Henry VIII. Bonner, bishop of London, issued a pro- 
clamation to the clergy of his diocese, dated 1542, prohibiting 'all 

* maner of common plays, games, or interludes to be played, set forth, 

* or declared, uithin their churches, chapels, &c.^' This fashion seems 
to have remained even after the Reformation, and v/hen perhaps 
profane stories had taken place of religious- ones. Archbishop Grindal, in 
the year 1563, remonstrated against the danger of interludes: com- 
plaining that players ' did especially on holy days, set up bills inviting 
' to their play-'.' From this ecclesiastical source of the modern drama, 
plays continued to be acted on Sundays so late as the reign of Elizabeth, 
and even till that of Charles I., by the choristers or singing-boys of 
St. Paul's cathedral in London, and of the royal chapel. 

It is certain, that these Miracle-plays were the first of our dra- 
matic exhibitions. But as these pieces frequently required the intro- 
duction of allegorical characters, such as Charity, Sin, Death, Hope, 
Faith, or the like, and as the common poetry of the times, especially 
among the French, began to deal much in allegory, at length plays 
were formed entirely consisting of such personifications. These were 
called Moralities. The miracle-plays, or Mysteries, were totally 
destitute of invention or plan ; they tamely represented stories accord- 
ing to the letter of scripture, or the respective legend. But the 
Moralities indicate dawnings of the dramatic art: they contain 
some rudiments of a plot, and even attempt to delineate characters, 
and to paint manners. From hence the gradual transition to real his- 
torical personages was natural and obvious. It may be also obser\'ed, 
that many licentious pleasantries were sometimes introduced in these 
religious representations. This might imperceptibly lead the way to 
subjects entirely profane, and to comedy, and perhaps earlier than is 
imagined. In a * Mystery of the Massacre OF the Holy Inno- 
cents, part of the subject of a sacred drama given by the English 
fathers at the famous council of Constance, in the year 1417^, a low 
buffoon of Herod's court is introduced, desiring of his lord to be dubbed 
a knight, that he might be properly qualified to to go on the adventure 
of killing the mothers of the children of Bethlehem. This tragical 
business is treated with the most ridiculous levity. The good women 
of Bethlehem attack our knight-errant with their spinning-wheels, 
break his head with their distaffs, abuse him as a coward and a dis- 
grace to chivalry, and send him home to Herod as a recreant champion 
with much ignominy. It is in an enlightened age only that subjects 

1 Bumct. Hii^t. Ref. i. Coll. Rec. pag.' 223. 

* From a puritanical pamphlet entitled The third hlast of Retratt from Plaies, &c. 
158A. i2mo. p. 77. Where the author says, the players arc 'permitted to publish their ma- 
' mettrie in cverie temple of God, and that, throughout England, &c.' This abuse of acting 
plays in churches i!> mentioned in the canon of James I, which forfjids also the profanation of 

churches by court-lects, iic. Thccauons were given in the year 1603. 
3 Slrype s Griudall, p. 8a. « JilbS. Digb. 134, Uibl. UodJ. 

BL'Eofant. ii. 440. 


scripture history would be supported with proper dignity. But then 
an enlightened age would not have chosen such subjects for theatrical 
exhibition. It is certain that our ancestors intended no sort of impiety 
by these monstrous and unnatural mixtures. Neither the writers nor 
the spectators saw the impropriety, nor paid a separate attention to 
the comic and the serious part of these motley scenes ; at least they 
were persuaded, that the solemnity of the subject covered or excused 
all incongruities. They had no just idea of decorum, consequently but 
little sense of the ridiculous : what appears to us to be the highest bur- 
lesque, on them would have made no sort of impression. We must 
not wonder at this, in an age when courage, devotion, and ignorance, 
compose the character of European manners ;' when the knight going 
to a tournament, first invoked his God, then his minstrels, and after- 
wards proceeded with a safe conscience and great resolution to engage 
his antagonist. In these Mysteries I have sometimes seen gross and 
open obscenities. In a play of the Old and New Testament, Adam 
and Eve are both exhibited on the stage naked, and conversing about 
their nakedness ; this very pertinently introduces the next scene, in 
which they have coverings of fig-leaves. This extraordinary spectacle 
was beheld by a numerous assembly of both sexes with great compo- 
sure : they had the authority of scripture for such a representation, 
and they gave matters just as they found them in the third chapter of 
Genesis. It would have been absolute heresy to have departed from 
the sacred text in personating the primitive appearance of our first 
parents, whom the spectators so nearly resembled in simplicity : and 
if this had not been the case, the dramatists were ignorant what to 
reject and what to retain. 

In the meantime, profane dramas seem to have been known in 
France at a much earlier period^. Du Cange gives the following pic- 

1 MSS. Harl. 2013, &c. Exhibited at Chester in the year 1327, at the expence of the 
different trading companies of that city. The Fall of Lucifer, by the Tanners. Tin: Creation 
by the Drapers. The Deluge, by the Dyers. Abraham, Mekhisedeck, and Lot, by the 
Barbers. Moses, Balak, and Balaam, by the Cappers. The Salutation and Nativity, by 
the Wrightes. The Shepherds feeding their flocks by tiight, by the Painters and Glaziers. 
T/ie three Kings, by the Vintners. The Oblation of the three Kings, by the Mercers. T/ie 
killing of the Innocents, by the Goldsmiths. The Purification, by the Blacksmiths. The 
Temptation, by the Butchers. The last Supper, by the Bakers. The blind Men and 
Lazarus, by the Glovers. Jesus and tlie Lepers, by the Corvesarys. Christ's Passion, by 
the Bowyers, Fletchers, and Ironmongers. Descent into Hell, by the Cooks and Innkeepers. 
Tlie Resurrection, by the Skinners. The Ascension, by the Taylors. The election of S. 
Matthias, Sending of the holy glwst, &'c., by the Fishmongers. Antechrist, by the 
Clothiers. Day of Judgment, by the .Websters. Tlie reader will perhaps smile at some of 
these Combinations. This is the substance and order of the former part of the pl.ay. God 
enters creating the world : he breathes life into Adam, leads him into Paradise, and opens 
his side while sleeping. and Eve appear naked, and not ashamed, and the old serpent 
enters lamenting his fall. He converses with Eve. She cats of the forbidden fruit, and gives 
part to Adam. They propose, according to the stage-direction, to make themselves subliga- 
cula a foliis quibus tegamus Pudenda. Cover their nakedness with leaves, and converse 
■with God. God's curse. The serpent exit hissing. They arc driven from Paradise by four 
angels and the cherubim with a flaming sword. Adam appears digging the ground, and Eve 
spinning. Their children Cain and Abel enters: The former kills his brother. Adam's 
lamentation. Cain is banished, &c., p. 77. 

■- John of Salisbury, a writer of the elevenih century, speaking of the common diversions of 


cure of the king of France dining in public, before the year 1300. 
During this ceremony, a sort of farces or drolls seems to have been 
exhibited. All the great officers of the crown and the household, says 
he, were present. The company was entertained with the instrumen- 
tal music of the minstrels, who played on the kettle-drum, the flagel- 
let', the cornet, the Latin cittern, the Bohemian flute, the trumpet, the 
Moorish cittern, and the fiddle. Besides there were ' des Farceurs, 
' des jongleurs, et des plaisantins, qui divertisseoient les compagnies 
' par leur facetiss et par Icur Comedies, pour I'entretien.' He adds, 
that many noble families in France were entirely ruined by the prodi- 
gious expenses lavished on those performers^. The annals of France 
very early mention buffoons among the minstrels at these solemnities ; 
and more particularly that Louis le Debonnaire, who reigned about 
the year 830, never laughed aloud, not even when at the most magni- 
ficent festivals, players, buffoons, minstrels, singers, and harpers, 
attended his table^. In some constitutions given to a cathedral church 
in France, in the year 1280, the following clause occurs. ' Nullus 
SPECTACULIS aliquibus quas aut in Nuptiis aut in Scenis exhibentur, 
intersif*.' Where, by the way, the word Scenis seems to imply some- 
what of a professed stage, although the establishment of the first French 
theatre is dated not before the year 1398. The play of Robin and 
Marian is said to have been performed by the school-boys of Angiers 
according to annual custom, in the year 1392^. A royal carousal given 
by Charles V. of France to the emperor Charles IV., in the year 1378, 
was closed with the theatrical representation of the Conquest of Jeru- 
salem by Godfrey of Bulloign, which was exhibited in the hall of the 

his time, says, ' Nostra aetas prolapsa ad fabulas et qucevis inania, non modo aures et cor pro- 
' stituit vanitati, &c.' Policrat. i. 8. An ingenious French writer. Mens. Duclos, thinks 
that Plays are here implied. Ry the word j'^aiw/^, says he, something more is signified than 
dances, gesticulation, and simple dialogue. Fable properly means composition, and an 
arrangement of things which constitute an action. Mem. Acid. Inscr. xvii. p. 224. 410. But 
perhaps_/ai^»/a has too vague and general a sense, especially in its present combin>ation with 
qjt4xvis inania, to bear so precise and critical an interpretation. I will add, that if this reason- 
ing be true, the words will be equally applicable to the English stage. — At Constantinople it 
seems that the stage flourished much under Justinian and Theodora, about the year 450. For 
in the Basilical codes we have the oath of an actress, ,«»! nua^upiiyr Tn; ■^rof.yna.f. Tom.vii. p. 
682. edit. Fabrot. Grscco. Lat. The ancient Greek fathers, particularly saint Chrj'sostom, are 
full of declamation against the drama : and complain, that the people heard a comedian with 
much more pleasure than a preacher of the gospel. 

1 1 believe, a sort of pipe. This is the French word, viz. Demy-canon. See Carpent. Du. 
Cangc, Gl. Lat. i. p. 760, 

' DLssertat. Joinv. p. 161. 3 Ibid. 

* Montfauc. Catal. MSS. p. 1158. See also Manen. Thcsaur. Anecd. torn. iv. p. 506. 
Statut. Synod, a.d. 1468. Lar\'aria ad Nuptias, &c.' Stowe, in his SukVEV OF London, 
mentions the practice of acting plays at weddings. 

p The boys were deguisiez, says the old French record ; and they had among them un 
FilUtte desguisec. Carpent. ubi. supr. V. Rouinet. Pentecoste. Our old cnaracter of 
Mavi> Marian may be hence illustrated. It seems to have been an early fashion in France 
for school- boys to present these shews or plays. In an .incient MSS., under the year 1477, 
there is mentioned Ccrtaine Moralite, ou Farce, que les escolliers de Pontoise avoit fait, 
' ainti quit est de couslume.' Carpent. ubi. supr. V. Mokalitas. The Mystery of tiiii 
OLD and r;EW Testament is said 10 have been represented in 1474, by the boys of Paris 
placed like statues against a wall, without speech or motion, at the entry of the duke of CcJ- 
lord, regent of France, See J. de Paris, p. loi. And Sauval. Ant de Pans, ii. i^i. 


royal palace'. This indeed was a subject of a religious tendency; but 
not long afterwards, in the year 1395, perhaps before, the interesting 
story of Patient Grisilde appears to have been acted at Paris. This 
piece still remains, and is entitled, Le Mystere de Grisildis marquise 
de Saliice^. For all dramatic pieces were indiscriminately called 
Mysteries, whether a martyr or a heathen god, whether St. Catharine 
or Hercules was the subject. 

In France the religious Mysteries, often called Piteaux, or 
PiTOUX, were certainly very fashionable, and of high antiquity: yet 
from any written evidence, I do not find them more ancient than those 
of the EngHsh. In the year 1384, the inhabitants of the village of 
Aunay, on the Sunday after the feast of St. John, played the Miracle 
of Theophilus, ' ou quel Jeu avoit un personnage de un qui devoit 
'getter d'un canonV In the year 1398, some citizens of Paris met at 
St. Maur to play the PASSION of Christ. The magistrates of Paris, 
alarmed at this novelty, published an ordonnance, prohibiting them to 
represent, ' aucuns jeux de personnages soit de vie de saints ou autre- 
' ment,' without the royal license, which was soon afterwards obtained*. 
In the year 1386, at Anjou, ten pounds were paid towards supporting 
the charges of acting the PASSION OF Christ, which was represented 
by masks, and, as I suppose, by persons hired for the purposed The 
chaplains of Abbeville, in the year 1455, gave four pounds and ten 
shillings to the Players of the Passion''. But the French Mysteries 
were chiefly performed by the religious communities, and some of their 
Fetes almost entirely consisted of a dramatic or personated shew. 
At the Feast of Asses, instituted in honour of Baalam's Ass, the clergy 
walked on Christmay day in procession, habited to represent the pro- 
phets and others. Moses appeared in an alb and cope, with a long 
beard and a rod. David had a green vestment. Baalam with an im- 
mense pair of spurs, rode on a wooden ass which inclosed a speaker. 
There were also six Jews and jsix Gentiles. Among other characters 
the poet Virgil was introduced as a gentile prophet and a translator of 
the Sibylline oracles. They thus moved in procession, chanting ver- 
sicles, and conversing in character on the nativity and kingdom of 
Christ, through the body of the church, till they came into the choir. 

1 Felib. torn. ii. p. 6Si. 

' It has been printed, more than once, in the black letter. Beauchamps, p. no. 

3 Carpcntier, Suppl. Du Cange Lat. Gl. V. LuDUS. 

4 Beauchamps, ut supr. p. 90. This was the first theatre of the French : the actors were in- 
corporated by the king, under the title of the Fraternity of the passion of our Saviour. 
Beauch. ibid. See above. Sect. ii. p. gi. n. The Jezu de personnages was a very common 

flay of the young boys in the larger towns, &c. Caipentier, ut supr. V. Personagium. And 
.UDUs Person.\g. At Cambray mention is made of the shew of a boy larvatus cunt maza 
l«fo//o with drums, &c. Carpcnt. ib. V. Kalend.e Januar. 

5 'Decern libr. ex parte nationis, ad oncra supportanda hujus Misterii.' Carpent. ut supr. 
V. Personagium. 

8 Carpent. ut supr. V. LuDUS. AVho adds, from an ancient Computus, that three .shillings 
were paid by the ministers of a church in the year 1537, for parchmeut, for writing Ludus 
Resurrectionis Domini. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POTRY. 165 

Virgil speaks some Latin hexameters, during the ceremony, not out of 
his fourth eclogue, but wretched monkish lines in rhyme. This feast 
was, I believe, early suppressed. In the year 1445, Charles VII. of 
France ordered the masters in Theology at Paris to forbid the ministers 
of the collegiate^ churches to celebrate at Christmas the FEAST of 
Fools in their churches, where 'the clergy danced in masques and antic 
dresses, and exhibited plusiers mocqueries spectacles publics, de leur 
corps deguiscmeiits, farces, rigmeries, with various enormities shocking 
to decency. In France as well as England it was customary to cele- 
brate the feast of the boy-bishop. In all the collegiate churches of 
both nations, about the feast of Saint Nicholas, or the Holy Inno- 
cents, one of the children of the choir completely apparelled in the 
episcopal vestments, with a mitre and crosier, bore the title and state 
of a bishop, and exacted canonical obedience from his fellows, who 
were dressed like priests. They took possession of the church, and 
performed all the ceremonies and offices^, the mass excepted, which 
might have been celebrated by the bishop and his prebendaries^. In 
the statutes of the archiepiscopal cathedral of Tulles, given in the year 
1497, it is said, that during the celebration of the festival of the boy- 
bishop, ' Moralities were presented, and shews of Miracles, with 
' farces and other sports, but compatible with decorum. — After dinner 
* they exhibited, without their masks, but in proper dresses, such farces 
' as they were masters of, in different parts of the city*.' It is probable 
that the same entertainments attended the solemnisation of this ridi- 
culous festival in England": and from this supposition some critics 
may be inclined to deduce the practice of our plays being acted by 
the choir-boys of St. Paul's church, and the chapel royal, which con- 

1 Marten. Anecd. torn. i. col. 1804. Also Belet. de Divin. offic. cap. 72. And Gussanvill. 
post Not. ad Pctr. Blesens. Feilbien confounds La Fete de Foiis et la Fete de Sotise. The 
latter was an entertainment of dancing called Les Sanltes, and thence corrupted into Soties 
or Sotise. Mem. Acad. Inscript. xvii. 225. 226. Also Probat. Hist. Antissiodor, p. 310. 
Again, ihe Feast 0/ Foots seems to be pointed at in Statut. Senonens. a.d. 1443. Instr. torn. xii. 
Gall. Christian. Coll. g6. ' Tempore divini servitii larvatos et monstruosos vultus deferendo, 
' cum vestibus mulierum, aut lenonum, aut histrionum, choreas in ecclesia et choro ejus du- 

*'cendo, itc' With the most immodest spectacles. The nuns of some French convents are 
said to have had Ltidibria on saint Mary Magdalen's and other festivals, when they wore 
the habits of seculars, and danced with them. Carpent. ubi supr. V. Kalend,c There 
w.-Ls the office of Rex Stultorum in Beverley church, prohibited 1391. Dugd. Mond. iii. 
Append. 7. 

2 In the statutes of Eton-college, given 1441, the Episcopus Puerorum is ordered to perform 
divine ser\'ice on saint Nicholas's day. Ruhr. x.\.\i. In the statutes of Winchester-college, 
given 1380, Pl'ERi, that is, the boy-bishop and his fellows, arc permitted on Innocent's day to 
execute all the sacred offices in the chapel, according to the use of the church of Sarura. 
Ruhr. xxix. This strange piece of religious mockery flourished greatly in Salisbury cathedral. 
In the old Statutes of that church there is a chapter De Emscopo chrokistakum : and their 
Processioiiale gives a long and minute account of the whole ceremony, edit. Rothom. 1555. 

3 This ceremony was abolished by a proclamation, no later than 33 Hen. viii. Brit. Mus. 
MSS. Cotft"TlT. B. I. f. 208. In the inventory of the treasury of York cathedral, taken in 
'530. we have ' Item una mitra par\'a cum petris pro cpiscopo puerorum, &c.' Dudgd. 
Monast. iii. i6q. 170. Also 313. 314. 177. 270. Also Dugd. Hist. S. Paul's, p. 205. 206. 
Where he is called Eriscopus PahvulorI/'.vi. Also Anstis Ord. Gart. iL 309. Where, instead 
of Nihilensis, read Nicolensis, or Nicolatensis. 

* Statut. Eccles. Tullens. apud Carpent. Suppl. Lat. Gl. Du Cangc V. Kalend;e. 

5 It appears that in England, the boy-bishop with his companions went about to diffcrcat 


tinued, as I before observed, till Cromwell's usurpation. The English 
and French stages mutually throw light on each other's history. But 
perhaps it will be thought, that in some of these instances I have ex- 
emplified in nothing more than farcical and gesticulatory representations. 
Yet even these traces should be attended to. In the meantime we 
may observe upon the whole, that the modern drama had its founda- 
tion in our religion, and that it was raised and supported by the clergy, 
The truth is, the members of the ecclesiastical societies were almost 
the only persons who could read, and their numbers easily furnished 
performers: they abounded in leisure, and their veiy relaxations were 

I did not mean to touch upon the Italian stage. But as so able a 

judge as Riccoboni seems to allow, that Italy derived her theatre from 

those of France and England, by way of an additional illustration of 

the antiquity of the two last, I will here produce one or two Miracle- 

Plays, acted much earlier in Italy than any piece mentioned by that 

ngenious writer, or by Crescimbeni. In the year 1298, on ' the feast 

of Pentecost, and the two following holidays, the representation of 

the Play of Christ, that is of his passion, resurrection, ascension, 

judgment, and the mission of the holy ghost, was performed by the 

clergy of Civita Vecchia iti curia domini patriarchce Austria civitatis 

honorisice et laudabiliter^ .^ And again, * In 1304, the chapter of 

Civita Vecchia exhibited a Play of the creation of our first parents, 

the annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the birth of Christ, and other 

passages of sacred scripture^.' In the meantime, those critics who 

contend for the high antiquity of the Italian stage, may adopt these 

instances as new proofs in defence of that hypothesis. 

In this transient view of the origin and progress of our drama, which 
was incidentally suggested by the mention of Baston's supposed 
Comedies, I have trespassed upon future periods. But I have chiefly 
done this for the sake of connection, and to prepare the mind of the 
reader for other anecdotes of the history of our stage, which will occur ^ 
in the course of our researches, and are reserved for their respective 
places. I could have enlarged what is here loosely thrown together, 
with many other remarks and illustrations ; but I was unwilling to 

parts of the town; at least visited the other religious houses. As in Rot. Comp. Coll. 
Winton. a.d. 1461. . , 

' In Dat. episcopo Nicolatensi.' This I suppose, was one of the children of the choir ot 
the neighbouring cathedral. In the statutes of the collegiate church of S. Mary Ottery, 
founded by bishop Grandison in 1337, tliere is this passage, 'Item statuimus, quod nullus 
' canonicus, vicarius, vcl secundarius, pueros christas in festo sanctorum Innocentium extra 
' Parochiam de Otery trahant, aut eis licentiam vagandi conccdant.' cap. 50 MSS. Registr. 
Priorat. S. Swithin. Winton. quat. 9. In the wardrobe-rolls of Edward 111. an. i2- we have 
this entry, which shews that our mock-bishop and his chapter sometunes exceeded their 
adopted clerical commission, and exercised the arts of secular entertainment. 'Episopo 
' PUERORUM ecclesia; de Andcworp cantanti coram domino, rege in camera sua in festo sanc- 
'torum Innocentium, de dono ipsius dom. regis, xiiii. vi</.' 

1 Chron. Forojul. in Append, ad Monum. Eccl. Aquilej. pag. 30. col. i. 

" Ibid. pag. 30. col. i. It is extraordinary, that the Miracle-plays, even in the churches, 
should not cease in Italy till the year i66a 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 167 

transcribe from the collections of those who have already treated this 
subject with great comprehension and penetration, especially from the 
author of the Supplement to the Translator's Preface of Jarvis's Don 
Quixote^ I claim no other merit from this digression, than that of 
having collected some new anecdotes relating to the early state of the 
English and French stages, the original of both which is intimately 
connected, from books and manuscripts not easily found, nor often 
examined. These hints may perhaps prove of some service to those 
who have leisure and inclination to examine the subject with more 


Edward III. was an illustrious example and patron of chivalry. 
His court was the theatre of romantic elegance. I have examined the 
annual rolls of his wardrobe, which record various articles of costly 
stuffs delivered occasionally for the celebration of his tournaments ; 
such as standards, pennons, tunics, caparisons, with other splendid 
furniture of the same sort : and it appears that he commanded these 
solemnities to be kept, with a magnificence superior to that of former 
ages, at Litchfield, Bury, Guildford, Eltham, Canterbury, and twice at 
Windsor, in little more than the space of one year^. At his triumphant 
return Irom Scotland, he was met by 230 knights at Dunstable, who 
received their victorious monarch with a grand exhibition of these 
martial exercises. He established in the castle of Windsor a fraternity 
of 24 knights, for whom he erected a round table, with a round 
chamber still remaining, according to a similar institution of king 
Arthur^. Anstis treats the notion, that Edward in this establishment 
had any retrospect to king Arthur, as an idle and legendary tradition*. 
But the fame of Arthur was still kept aUve, and continued to be an 
object of veneration long afterwards : and however idle and ridiculous 

1 See also Doctor Percy's very ingenious Essay on the origin of the English 
Stage, &c. 

2 Comp. J. Cooke, Provisoris Magn- Garderob. ab ann. ai Edw. iii. ad ann. 23. supr. citat. 
I will give, as a specimen, this officer's accompt for the tournament at Canterbury. ' Et aj 
' faciendum diversos apparatus pro corpore regis ct suorum pro hastihidio Cantuariensi, an. 
'rcg. x.xii. ubi Rex. dedit octo hemesia de syndone ynde facta, ct vapulata de armis dom. 
'Stephani dc Cosyngton militis, dominis principibus comiti LancastricE, comiti Sufiblcia;, Jo- 
' hanni de Gray, Joh. de Beauchamp, Roberto Maule, Joh. Chandos, et dom. Rogero de 
' Beauchamp. Et ad faciendum unum harneslum de bokcram albo pro rege, extencellato cum 
'argcnto, viz. tunicam et scutum operata cum diclaminc Regis, 

' Hay Hay the wyihe s^uan 'By Codes sotile T am thy man.' 

'Et croparium, pcctoralc, testarium, et arcenarium cxtencellata cum agento. Et ad parandum 
'i. tunicam Regis, et i. clocam et capuciam cum c. gartcriis paratis cum boucles, barris, et 
'pendcntibus dc arfjcnto. Et ad faciendum unum dublettum pro Rege dc tela linca habente, 
' circa manicas ct simbriam, unam borduram de panuo longoviridi operatum cum ncbuLs et 
* vincis de auro, ct cum dictamine Regis. // is as ii is.' Mcmbr. xi. [a.d. 1349. J 
J* Walsing, p. 117. * Ord. Cart, il 9a. 


the fables of the round table may appear at present, they were then not 
only universally known, but firmly believed. Nothing could be more 
natural to such a romantic monarch, in such an age, than the renova- 
tion of this most ancient and revered institution of chivalry. It was a 
prelude to the renowned order of the garter, which he soon afterwards 
founded at Windsor, during the ceremonies of a magnificent feast, 
which had been proclaimed by his heralds in Germany, France, 
Scotland, Burgundy, Heynault, and Brabant, and lasted fifteen days^ 
We must not try the modes and notions of other ages, even if they 
have arrived to some degree of refinement, by those of our own. 
Nothing is more probable, than that this latter foundation of 
Edward III. took its rise from the exploded story of the garter of the 
countess of Salisbury^. Such on origin is interwoven with the manners 
and ideas of the times. Their attention to the fair sex entered into 
everything. It is by no means unreasonable to suppose, that the 
fantastic collar of Esses, worn by the knights of this Order, was an 
allusion to her name. Froissart, an eye-witness, and well acquainted 
with the intrigues of the court, relates at large the king's affection for 
the countess ; and particularly describes a grand carousal which he 
gave in consequence of that attachment. The first festival of this 
order was not only adorned by the bravest champions of Christendom, 
but by the presence of queen Philippa, Edward's consort, accompanied 
with 300 ladies of noble families^ The tournaments of this stately 
reign were constantly crowded with ladies of the first distinction ; who 
sometimes attended them on horseback, armed with daggers, and 
dressed in a succinct soldier-like habit or uniform prepared for the 
purpose*. In a tournament exhibited at London, sixty ladies on 
palfries appeared, each leading a knight with a gold chain. In this 
manner they paraded from the tower to Smithfield^. Even Philippa, 
a queen of singular elegance of manners", partook so much of the 

1 Barnes, i. ch. 22. p. 292. Frois?;nrt, c. 100. Anstis, ut supr. 

2 Ashmolc proves, that the orders of the Aiiianiciada, and of the Toison dOr, had the like 
origin. Ord. Gart. p. 180. 181. Even in the ensigns of the order of the Holy Ghost, founded 
so late as 1578, some love-mysteries and emblems were concealed under cyphers introduced 
into the blasonrie. See Le Labourer, Contin. des Mem. de Castelnau, p. 895. ' II y eut plus 
de mys.steres d'amourettes que de religion, &c.' But I cannot in this place help observing, 
that the fantastic humour of unriddhng emblematical mysteries, supposed to be concealed 
under all ensigns and arms, was at length carried to such an extravagance, at least in England, 
as to be checked by the legislature. By a statute of queen Elizabeth, a severe penalty is 
laid, ' on all fond phantastical prophecies upon or by the occasion of any arms, fields, beaste.s, 
' badges, or the like things accustomed jn arms, cognisaunces, or signetts, &c.' Statut. v. 
Eliz. ch. 15. A.D. 1564. - 

!* They soon afterwards regularly received robes, with the knights companions, for this cere- 
mony, powdered with garters. Ashmol. Ord. Gart. 217. S94- And Anstis, ii. 123. 

4 Knyghton, Dec. Scrip, p. 2597. 

5 Frois.sart apud Stowe's Surv. Lend. p. 718. edit. 1616. _ At an earlier period, the growing 
gallantry of the times appears in a public instrument. It is in the reign of Edward I. Twelve 
jurymen depose upon oath the state of the king's lordship at Woodstock ; and among other 
things it is solemnly recited, that Henry II. often resided at Woodstock, 'proamore cujusdam 
'mulieris nomine Rosamunda.' Hearne's Avesbury, Append, p. 331. 

'' And of distinguished teauty. Hearr.c says, that the statuaries of those days used to make 
queen Philippa a model for their images of the Viigin Mary. Gloss. Rob. Brun. p. 349. He 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 1 69 

heroic spirit which was universally diffused, that just before an engage- 
ment with the king of Scotland, she rode round the ranks of the 
English army encouraging the soldiers, and was with some difficulty 
persuaded or compelled to relinquish the field^. The countess of 
Montfort is another eminent instance of female heroism in this age. 
When the strong town of Hennebond, near Rennes, was besieged by 
the French, this redoubted amazon rode in complete armour from street 
to street, on a large courser, animating the garison^. Finding from a 
high tower that the whole French army was engaged in the assault, 
she issued, thus completely accoutred, through a convenient postern at 
the head of 300 chosen soldiers, and set fire to the French camp^. In 
the meantime riches and plenty, the eftects of conquest, peace, and 
prosperity, were spread on every side ; and new luxuries were im- 
ported in great abundance from the conquered countries. There were 
few families, even of a moderate condition, but had in their possession 
precious articles of dress or furniture ; such as silks, fur, tapestry, 
embroidered beds, cups of gold, silver, porcelain, and crystal, bracelets, 
chains, and necklaces, brought from Caen, Calais, and other opulent 
foreign cities*. The increase of rich furniture appears in a foregoing 
reign. In an act of Parliament of Edward I.^, are many regulations 
relating to goldsmiths, not only in London, but in other towns, con- 
cerning the sterling alloy of vessels and jewels of gold and silver, &c. 
And it is said, ' Gravers or cutters of stones and seals shall give every 
' one their just weight of silver and gold.' It should be remembered, 
that about this period Europe had opened a new commercial inter- 
course with the ports of India**. No less than eight sumptuary laws, 
which had the usual effect of not being observed, were enacted in one 
session of parliament during this reign'^. Amid these growing elegances 
and superfluities, foreign manners, especially of the French, were 

adds, that the holy virgin, in a representation of her assumption, was constantly figured young 
u.\d beautiful ; and that the artists before the Reformation generally ' had the most beautiful 
'women of the greatest quality in their view, when they made statues and figures oi her.' 
Ibid. p. 550. 

1 Froissart. i. c. 138, 

2 FroLssart says, that when the English proved victorious, the countess came out of the 
castle, and in the street kissed sir Walter Manny, the English general, and his captains, one 
after another, twice or thrice, comine twble et valliant dame. On another like occasion, the 
same historian relates, that she went out to meet the officers, whom she kissed and sumptu- 
ously entertained in her ca.stle. i. c. 86. At many magnificent tournaments in France, the 
ladies determined the prize. See Mem. Anc. Cheval. i. p. 175. seq. p. 233. seq. An English 
squire, on the side of the French, captain of the castle of Jieaufort, called himself le Pour- 
suivant d'mnoitr, in 1369. Frois.sart, I. i. c. 64. In the midst of gr.and engagements between 
the French and English armies, when perhaps the interests of both nations are vitally con- 
cerned, Froissart gives many instances of officers entering into separate and personal combat 
to dispute the beauty of their respective mistresses. Hist. 1. ii. c. 33. 43. On this occasion 
an ingenious French writer observes, that Homer's heroes of ancient Greece are just as ex- 
travagant, who in the heat of the fight often stop on a sudden, to give an account of the gene- 
alogy of themselves or of their horses. Mem. Anc. Cheval. ubi supr. Sir Walter Manny, in 
1343. in attacking the coslle of Guigard exclaims, ' let me never be beloved of my mistress, if 
I refuse this attack, &c.' Froissart, i. 81. 

8 Froissart, i. c. 80. Du. Chesne, p. 656. Mczeray, ii. 3. p. 19. seq. 

* Walsing. Ypodigm. 121. Hist. 159. 1 a.d. 1300. Edw. i. an. 28. cap. xx. 

B Anderson, Hist. Comm. i. p. 141. 7 Ann. 37 Edw. iii. cap. viii. seq. 


perpetually increasing ; and the native simplicity of the English 
people was perceptibly corrupted and effaced. It is not quite uncertain 
that masques had their beginning in this reign^ These shews, in 
which the greatest personages of the court often bore a part, and which 
arrived at their height in the reign of Henry VIII., encouraged the 
arts of address and decorum, and are symptoms of the rise of polished 

In a reign like this, we shall not be surprised to find such a poet as 
Chaucer, with whom a new era in English poetry begins, and on whose 
account many of these circumstances are mentioned, as they serve to 
prepare the reader for his character, on which they throw no incon- 
siderable light. 

But before we enter on so ample a field, it will be perhaps less em- 
barrassing, at least more consistent with our prescribed method, if 
we previously display the merits of two or three poets, who appeared 
in the former part of the reign of Edward III., with other in- 
cidental matters. 

The first of these is Richard Hampole, an eremite of the order of 
St. Augustine. He was a doctor of divinity, and lived a solitary life 
near the nuns of Hampole, four miles from Doncaster in Yorkshire. 
The neighbourhood of this female society could not withdraw our re- 
cluse from his devotions and his studies. He flourished in the year 
1349^ His Latin theological tracts, both in prose and verse, are 
numerous; in which Leland justly thinks he has displayed more erudi- 
tion than eloquence. His principal pieces of English rhyme are a 
Paraphrase of part of the book of Job, of the Lord's prayer, of the 
seven penitential psalms, and the Pricke of Conscience. But our 
hermit's poetry, which indeed from these titles promises but little en- 
tertainment, has no tincture of sentiment, imagination, or elegance. 
The following verses are extracted from the Pricke of Conscience, 
one of the most common manuscripts in our libraries, and I prophecy 
that I am its last transcriber. But I must observe first, that this piece 
is divided into seven parts. I. Of man's nature. II. Of the world. 
III. Of death. IV. Of purgatory. V. Of the day of judgment. VI. 
Of the torments of hell. VII. Of the joys of heaven* 

Monkynde is to godus wmIIc And alle his biddyngus to fulfiUe 

Ffor of al his makyng more and les 
Man most principal creature es 

1 This spirit of splenclor and gallantry was continued in the reign of his successor. See the 
genius of that reign admirably characterised, and by the hand of a master, in bishop Lowth's 
Life of Wykeham, page. 222. HoUingsh. Chron. sub. ann. 1399. p. 508. col. i. 

2 Wharton, App. ad Cave, 75. Sa;cul. Wicklev. 

3 Stimulus Conscienti/E thys hoke ys namyd, MSS. Ashmol. fol. No. 41. There is much 
transpostion in this copy. In MSS. Digb. Bibl. Bodl. 87, it is called The Key of knowing. 

The migt of the fader almiti The wisdom of the son al wittL 


All that he made for man hit was done 
As ye schal here aftir lone God to monkyndc had gretlove 

When he ordeyncd to monnes behove 

This world and hcven hym to glade 

There in myddulerd mon last he made 
To his likeness in feire stature To be most worthy creature 

Beforen all creatures of kynde He ycf hym wit skile and mynde 

Ffor too knowe bothe good and ille And als he yaf him a fre wille 
Fforto chese and forto holde Good or yvcl whedur he wolde 

And as he ordeyned mon to dwelle To lyve in erthe in flessch and fell 

To knowe his workus and hym worshepe 

And his comaundcmcnt to kepe 
And yif he be to god buxome To endeles blis aftir to come 

And yif he wrongly here wende To pcyne of helle withouten ende 

God made to his owne likenes Eche mon lyving here more andles 

To whom he hath gyven wit and skil 

Ffor to knowe bothe good and il 
And wille to these as they vouchsave Goodor evil whether theiwole have 
He that his wille to good wolebowe Godwolehym withgretmedeallowe 
He that wukudnes wole and wo Gret peyne shall he have also 

That mon therfore holde is for wood 

That chesuth the evel and leveth the good 
God made mon of most dignite Of all creatures most fre 

And namely to his owne liknes As bifore tolde hit es 

And most hath gyven and yit gyveth 

Than to any creature that lyveth 
And more hath hct hym yit therto Hevene blis yif he wel do 
And yit when he had don amys And hadde lost that ilke blis 

God tok monkynde for his sake And for his love deth wolde take 

And with his blod boughte hem ayene 

To his blisse fro endeles peyne. 

Prima Pars de Miseria Human/E Coxditionis. 

Thus gfet love god to man kidde 

And mony goode dedus to hym didde 

Therefore eche mon lernd and lewed 

Schulde thynke on love that he hem schewed 

And these gode dedus holde in mynde 

That he thus dide to monkynde 

And love and thankc hym as he con 

And cllus he is unkyndc mon 
Both he serve hym day and nyght And his yiftes uscn hem right 
To spende his wit in godus servyse Certainly cllus he is not wise 

Bot he knowe kyndely what god es 

And what mon is that is Ics 
Thou fcbul mon is soulc and body Thou strong god is and myghly 

Thou mon grcvcth god that doth not wclle 

What mon is worthi therefore to fele 

Thou mcrcyfull and gracious god is 

And thou full of alle goodness 


Thou right wis and thou sothfaste 

What he hath done and shal atte laste 

And eche day doth to monkynde 

This schulde eche mon have in mynde 

Ffor the rihte waye to that bhs 

That leduth mon thidur that is this 
The waye of mekenes principally T o love and drede god almighty 
This is the waye into wisdome Into whuche waye non may come 

Withouten knowing of god here His myghtus and his workes sere 

But ar he to that knowyng wynne 

Hymself he mot knowe withynne 
Ellus knowyng may not be To wisdom way non entre 

Some han wit to undurstonde And yit thei are ful unknowonde 

And some thing hath no knowyng 

That myght them sture to good lyving 

Tho men had nede to lerne eche day 

Of men that con more then thay 
That myhte to kno\vynge hem lede In mekenes to love god and drede 
Which is waye and goode wissyng That maytohevenblismen brynge 

In. gret pil [peril] of sowle is that mon 

That hath wit mynde and no good con 
And wole not lerne for to knawe The workus of god and his lawe 
He nyle do aftufmest no lest Bot lyveth lyke an unskilfull best 

That nouther hath skil wit nor mynde 

That mon lyveth ayeyn his kynde 
Yit excuseth not his unknowing That his wit useth not in leryng 
Namely inthathim oweth toknowe To meke his herte and make it lowe 
The unknowyng schulde havewille To lerne to know good and ille 

He that ought con schulde lere more 

To knowe al that nedeful wore 
For the unkowyng by lerning May brought be to understondyng 

Of mony thyngus to knowe and se That hath bin is and shal be 

And so to mekenes sture his wille 

To love and drede god and leve al ille 
Mony ben glad triful to here And vanitees woll gladly lere 

Bisy they bin in word and thought To lerne that soul helputh nought 

But that that nedeful were to knowe 

To here they are wondur-slowe 

Therefore con thei nothing se 

The pereles thei schulde drede and fle 

And what weye thei schulde take 

And whiche wcye thei schulde forsake 

No wondur is though thei go wronge 

In derknes of unknowyng they gonge 

Without light of undurstondynge 

Of that that falluth to right kno\\ynge 

Therefore eche christen mon and wommon 

That wit and wisdom any con 
That tou the righte weye not sen Nor flie the perilcs that wise flen 
Schulde buxom be and bisy To heren and leren of hem namely 

That undcrstonden and knowen stil 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 1 73 

Wheche weye is good and wheche is il 
He that wole right weye of lyving loke 

Shall thus bigynne seith the boke 
To know first wliat hymself is So may he come to mekenys 

That ground of all virtues is last 

On whichc all virtues may be stedefast 
He that Knoweth well and con se What he is was and schal be 
A wisere man may be told Whethur he be young or old 

Then he that con al other thing And of hymself hath no knowyng 

He may no good knowe ny fele 

Bot he furst knowe hym selven wele 
Therfore a mon schulde furst lere To knowe hymself propurly here 
Ffor yif he knewe hymself kyndely Then may he knowe god almighty 
And on endyng thinke schulde he And on the last day that schal be 

Knowe schulde he what this worlde es 

Full of pompe and lecherousnes 

And lerne to knowe and thynke with alle 

What shhal aftir this lyf bi'falle 

Knowyng of this schulde hym lede 

To mete with mekenes and with drede 
So may he come to good lyving And atte last to good endyng 

And when he of this worlde schal wende 

Be brought to blis withouten ende 

The bigynnyng of this proces 

Right knowyng of a mon hymself hit es 

Bot somme mon han gret Icttynge 

That thei may have no right knowynge 

Of hemselfe that thei schulde first knawe 

That first to mekenes schulde hem draw 

Ther of some thyngus I fynde 

That monnes wit makuth ofte blynde 

And knowyng of hymself hit lettuth 

Wherefore he hymself foryctuth 

To this witnes Bernard answers 

And tho four are written in thes vers^, &c. 

In the Bodleian library I find three copies of the Pricke OF 
Conscience very different from that which I have just cited. In 
these this poem is given to Robert Grosthead bishop of Lincoln, 
above-mentioned^. With what probability, I will not stay to enquire; 
but hasten to give a specimen. I will only premise, that the language 
and hand-writing are of considerable anticjuity, and that the lines are 
here much longer. The poet is describing the future rewards and 
punishments of mankind. 

The good soule schal have in his herynge 
Gret joye in hevene and gret lykynge : 

1 Compare Tanner, BibL p. 375. col. i. And p. 374. col. i. Notes. And Grosthead. A:id 
MS.S. Ashm. 52. pcrgamcn 410. 

2 Laud. K. fjs. pergamen. And G. 21. And MSS. Digb. 14. Princ. 

The migt of the fader of hevene The wit of hli son with his giftes sevcne.' 


Ffor hi schulleth yhere the aungeles song, 

And with hem hi schulleth^ synge ever among, 

With delitable voys and swythe clere 

And also with that hi schullen have ire^ 

All other maner of ech a melodye, 

Off well lykyng noyse and menstralsye, 

And of al maner tenes'^ of musike, ' 

The whuche to mannes beorte migte like, 

Withoute eni maner of travayle, 

The whuche schal never cesse ne fayle : 

And so * schil schal that noyse bi, and so svvete 

And so delitable to smale and to grete, 

That al the melodye of this worlde heer 

That ever was yhuryd ferre or neer 

Were therto^ bote as sorwe** and care 

To the blisse that is in hevene well zare'^. 

Of the contraric of that blisse, 

Wei grete sorwe schal the synfolke bytyde^ *- 

Ffor he schullen yhere in ech a syde**, V 

Well gret noyse that the feondes^" willen make, 

As thei all the worlde scholde alto schake ; 

And alle the men lyvynge that migte hit yhure, 

Scholde here wit" loose, and no lengere alyve^^ dure. 

Thanne hi'-^ schulleth for sorwe here hondes wringe, 

And ever weilaway hi schullethe be cryinge, &c. 

The gode men schullethe have worschipes grete, 

And eche of them schal be yset in a riche sete, 

And ther as kynges be ycrownid fayre, 

And digte with riche perrie'* and so ysetun^^ in a chayre. 

And with stones of vertu and preciouse of choyse, 

As David thy said to god with a mylde voyce, 

Postiisti, domine, sitper caput eorum, &e. 

' Lorde, he seyth, on his heved thou settest wel arigt 

' A coronne of a pretious ston richeliche ydigt.' 

And so fayre a coronne nas never non ysene. 

In this worlde on kynges hevede'", ne on quene : 

Ffor this coronne is the coronne of blisse, 

And the ston is joye whereof hi schilleth never misse, &c. 

The synfolke schulleth, as I have afore ytold, 

Ffele outrageous hete, and afterwards to muche colde ; 

Ffor nowe he schullethe freose, and now brenne'^, 

And so be ypyned that non schal other kenne'*, 

And also be ybyte with dragonnes felle and kene, 

The whuche schulleth hem destrye outrigte and clene, 

1 Shall. 2 Ever, always. 3 Tunes. 4 Shrill. 5 But. 6 Sorrow. 7 Prspared. 
8 Sinners. '■> Either side. 1* Devils. H Senses. 12 Remain. 1^ They. 1^ Precious 
stones. 15 Seated 16 Head. 17 This is the hell of the monks, which Milton has adopted. 
18 Know. 


And with other vermyn and bestes fclle, 

The whiche beothe nougt but fendcs of helle, &.c. 

We have then this description of the New Jerusalem. 

This citie is yset on an hei hille. 

Ther no synful man may therto tille^ : 

The whuche ich Hkne to beril clene, 

And so fayr berel may non be ysene. 

Thulke hyl is nougt elles to understondynge 

Bote hoH thugt, and desyr brennynge, 

The whuche hoh men hadde heer to that place, 

Whiles hi hadde on eorthe here ly ves space ; 

And i likne, as ymay ymagene in my thougt, 

The walles of hevejje, to walles that were ywrougt 

Of all maner preciouse stones yset yfere^, 

And ysemented with gold brigt and clere ; 

Bot so brigt gold, ne non so clene, 

Was in this worlde never ysene, &c. 

The wardes of the cite of hevene brigt 

I likne to wardes that wel were ydygt. 

And clenly ywrougt and sotely enteyled, 

And on silver and gold clenly avamayled^, &c, 

The torettes* of hevene grete and smale 

I likne to the torrettes of clene cristale, &c. 

I am not, in the mean time, quite convinced that any MSS. of 
the Pricke of Conscience in English belongs to Hampole. That 
this piece is a translation from the Latin appears from these verses. 

Therefore this boke is in Englis drawe 
Of fele^ matters that bene unknawe 
To lewed men that are unkonande* 
That con no latyn undirstonde". 

The Latin original in prose, entitled Stimulus CONSCIENTIiE^, was 

1 Come. - Together. 3 Aumayled. ^ Turrets. 5 Many. 

•> Ignorant. 7 SiSS. Digb. ut .sup. 87. ad princip. 

' In the Cambridge MSS. of Hampole s Parathkase on the Lords Prayer, above-men- 
tioned, containing a prolix description of human virtues and vices, at the end, thi.s remark 
appears. ' Explicit quidam tractatus super Pater noster seciiuduni Ric. Hampole qui obiit 
'a.d. mccclxxxiv.' [But the true date of his death is in another place, viz. 1348.J MSS. 
More, 215. Princ. 

' Almighty God in trinite ' In whom is only personnes thre." 
The P.<RAPHRASE ON THE BOOK OF JoB, mentioned also before, seems to have existed first in 
Latin prose under the title of Parvum job. The English begins-thus : 

' LiefT Lord my soul thou spare.' 

In Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Laud, F. 77. 5, &c. &c. It is a paraphrase of some Excerpta from the 
book of Job. The seven penitential Psalms begin thus : 

' To goddis worschippe that dere us bougt.' 

MSS. Eodl. Digb. 18. Hampolc's Expositio in Psalterium is not uncommon in English. 
It has a preface in English rhymes in some copies, in praise of the author and his work. Pr. 
' This blessyd boke that hire.' MSS. Laud. F. 14, &c. Hampole was a very popular writer. 
Most of his many theological pieces seem to have been translated into English soon after they 
appeared : and those pieces abound among our manuscripts. Two of his tracts were translated 
by Richard Misyn, prior of the Carmelites at Lincoln, about the year 1435. The Incendium 


most probably wTitten by Hampole : and it is not very likely that he 
should translate his own work. The author and translator were 
easily confounded. As to the copy of the English poem given to 
bishop Grosthead, he could not be the translator, to say nothing 
more, if Hampole wrote the Latin original. On the whole, whoever 
was the author of the two translations, at least we may pronounce 
with some certainty, that they belong to the reign of Edward III'. 


The next poet in succession is one Avho deserves more attention on 
various accounts. This is Robert Longlande, author of the poem 
called the Vision of Pierce Plowman, a secular priest, and a 
fellow of Oriel college, in Oxford. He flourished about the year 
1350. This poem contains a series of distinct visions, which the 
author imagines himself to have seen, while he was sleeping, after a 
long ramble on Malverne-hills in Worcestershire. It is a satire on the 
vices of almost every profession : but particularly on the corruptions 
of the clergy, and the absurdities of superstition. These are ridiculed 
with much humour and spirit, couched under a strong vein of alle- 
gorical invention. But instead of availing himself of the rising and 
rapid improvements of the English language, Longland prefers and 
adopts the style of the Anglo-Saxon poets. Nor did he make these 
writers the models of his language only: he likewise imitates their 
alliterative versification, which consisted in using an aggregate of 
words beginning with the same letter. He has therefore rejected 
rhyme, in the place of which he thinks it sufficient to substitute a per- 
petual alliteration. But this imposed constraint of seeking identical 
initials, and the affectation of obsolete English, by demanding a con- 

Amoris, at the request of Margaret Hellingdon a recluse, Princ. ' To the askynge of thi 
desire.' And De Emendatione Vit>e. "Tarry thou not to oure.' They are in the trans- 
lator's own hand-writing in the library of C. C. C. Oxon. MSS. 237. I find other ancient 
translations of both these pieces. Particularly, The Pricke of Love after R ichard Hampol 
trethig 0/ tlie three degrees 0/ love. MSS. BodK Arch. B. 65. f 109. As a proof of the 
confusions and uncertainties attending the works of our author, I must add, that we have a 
translation of his tract De Emendatione under this title. T/tc/oriiiof />erfyt living, whicji 
holy Richard the hermit wrote to a recluse named Margarcte. MSS. Vernon. But Mat- 
garete is evidently the recluse, at whose'request Richard Misyn, many years after Hampole's 
death, translated the Incendium Amoris. These observations, to which others might be 
added, are sufficient to confirm the suspicions insinuated in the text. Many of Hampole's 
Latin theological tracts were printed very early at Paris and Cologne. 

' Much about the same period, Lawrence Minot, not mentioned by Tanner, wrote a collec- 
tion of poems on the principal evests of the reign of king Edward III, preserved in the British 
Museum. MSS. Cotton. Galb. E. ix. 

1 I have here followed a date comnlonly received. But it may be observed, that there is in 
this poem an allusion to the fall of Edward II. The siege of Calais is also mentioned as a 
recent fact ; and Bribery accuses Conscience of obstructing the conquest of France. See 
more in Observations on the Fairy Queen, ii. $. xi. p. 281. 


Slant and necessar)' departure from the natural and obvious torms of 
expression, while it circumscribed the powers of our authors genius, 
contributed also to render his manner extremely perplexed, and to dis- 
gust the reader with obscurities. The satire is conducted by the 
agency of several allegorical personages, such as Avarice, Briber)-, 
Theology, Conscience, &c. There is much imagination in the follow- 
ing picture, which is intended to represent human life, and its various 

Then gan I to meten a mervelouse sweven, 

That I was in wildernes, 1 wyst never where : 

As I beheld into theast, on highe to the sunne 

I saw a tower on a loft, rychlych ymaked, 

A depe dale benetlj, a dungeon therein. 

With depe diches and darcke, and dreadfull of syght : 

A fayre felde ful of folke found I ther betwene, 

Of all maner men, the meane and the riche. 

Working and wandring, as the world asketh ; 

Some put hem to the ploughe, pleiden full selde, 

In setting and sowing swonken full harde : 

And some put hem to prj'd^, &c. 

The following extracts are not only striking specimens of our author's 
allegorical satire, but contain much sense and observation of life, with 
some strokes of poetr)'^. 

Thus robed in russet, I romed aboute 

All a somer season, for to seke' DowEL 

And freyned* full oft, of folke that I mette 

If any wight wist, wher DowEL^ was at inne. 

And what man he might be, of many man I asked, 

Was never wight as I went, that me wysh" could 

Where this ladde lengcd^, lesse or more 

Tyll it befell on a Frj-day, two fryers I mette 

Maisters of the minours*, men of greate wytte 

I halsed hem hendelye", as I had learned 

And prayed hem for charitie, or they passed furthur 

If they knewe any courte or countrye as they went 

Where that Dowell dweJleth, do me to wytte^" 

For they be men on this mould, that most wide walke 

And knowe contries and courts, and many kinnes^^ places 

Both princes palaces, and pore menes cotes 

And Dowel and Doevil, where they dwell both, 

Amongest us quoth the minours, that man is dwellinge 

And ever hath as 1 hope, and ever shall hereafter, 

Contra quod I, as a clarke, and cumsed to disputen 

' Fol. i. X edit. 1550. By Roberte Crowley. 410. He printed three editions in this one year. 
Another was printed [with Pierce Plowman's annexed] by Owen Rogers, 1561. 410. 
See Strype, Ann. Reforirat. i. 135. And Ames, Hist. Print, p. 270. 

* F. 39. scq. P.1SS. viii. seq. edit. 1550. 

'Do-well. ■•Enquired. » Lived. « Inform me. 

•Lived. 8 The friers minors. 9 Saluted them civilly. 1" Know. H Sorts ot 



And sayde hym sothelye, Septies in die cadit Justus, 
Seven^ sythes sayeth the boke, synneth the rightfull, 
And who so synneth I say, doth evel as me thinketh, 
And Dowel and Doevyl may not dwel togither, 
Ergo he is not ahvay among you fryers 
He is other whyle els where, to wyshen the people. 
I shafsay the my sonne, sayde the frier than 
How seven sithes the sadde- man on a day synneth, 
By a forvisne^ quod the fryer, I shal the faire shewe 
Let bryng a man in abote, amyd the brode water 
. The winde and the water, and the bote waggyng 
Make a man many time, to fall and to stande 
For stand he never so stiffe, he stumbleth. if he move 
And yet is he safe and sounde, and so hym behoveth, 
For if he ne arise the rather, and raght to the stere, 
The wind would with the water the boote overthrow. 
And than were his life lost through latches* of himself. 
And thus it falleth quod the frier, bi folk here on erth 
The water is likned to the world, that waneth and wexeth 
The goods of this world ar likened to the gret waves 
That as winds and wethers, walken a bout. 
The boote is likende to our body, that brytil is of kynd 
That through the iieshe, and the frayle worlde 
Synneth the sadde man, a day seven tymes 
And deadly synne doeth he not, for Dowel him kepeth 
And that is Charitie, the chapion, chiefe helpe agayne sinne, 
For he strengtheth man to stand, and stirreth mans soule 
And thoughe thy bodi bowe, as bote doth in water^ 
Aye is thy soule safe, but if thou wylt thy self 
Do a deadlye sinne, and drenche so thy soule 
God wyll suffer wel thy slouth, if thy selfe lyketh 
For he gafe the two yeresgifts, to teme wel thy selfe 
And that is vi^itte and frewil, to every wight a portion 
To flyinge fowles, to fishes, and to beastes 
And man hath moste thereof, and most is to blame 
But if he worch wel therwith, as Dowel hym teacheth 
I have no kind knowyng quoth I, to coceive all your wordcs 
And if I may live and loke, I shal go learne better 
I bikenne the Christ, that on the crosse dyed 
And I said the same, save you from mischaunce 
And give you grace on this ground good me to wortli. 
And thus I went wide wher, walking mine one 
By a wyde weldernes, and by a woddes syde, 
Blisse of the birdes, brought me on slepe. 
And under a lynde^ on a land, lened I a stounde" 
To lyth the layes^, tho lovely fowles made, 
Myrthe of her mouthes made me there to slepe 
The marvelousest metelles, mette* me than 
That ever dremed wyght, in world as I wente. 

1 Times. 2 Sober, Good. 3 Similitude. * Laziness. 

6 Lime tree. 6 a while. 7 Listen. 8 Dreamed. 


A much man as me thought, and hke to my selfe, 

Came and called me, by my kinde' name 

What art thou quod I tho, thou that my name knoweste 

That thou wottest wel quod he, and no wight better 

Wot I what thou art ? THOUGHT sayd he than, 

I have sued- the this seven yeres, se ye me no rather ? 

Art thou Thought quoth I tho, thou couldest me wysshe 

Wher that Dowel dvvelleth, and do me that to knowe 

Dowel and Dobetter, and Dobest the thirde quod he 

Are thre fayre vertues, and be not farre to finde, 

Who so is true of hys tonge, and of hys two handes 

And through his labor or his lod, his livelod wineth^ 

And is trusty of hys taylyng*, taketh but his ovvne 

And is no drunklewe^ ne dedigious, DowEL him followeth 

Dobet doth ryght thus, and he doth much more 

He is as lowe as a lamb, and lovely of speache 

And helpeth al men, after that hem ncdcth 

The bagges and the bigirdles, he hath to brok® hemal, 

That the erle avarous helde and hys heyres 

And thus to Mamons mony he hath made him fren des 

And is runne to religion, and hath rendred^ the bible 

And preached to the people, saynte Paules werdes 

Libenter suffertis insipientes cum sitis ipsi sapientes. 

And suffereth the unwyse, wyth you for to lyve 

And with glad wil doth he good, for so god you hoteth 

DoBEST is above boeth, and beareth a bishops crosse 

Is hoked on that one ende to halye* men from hell 

A pyke is on the potent^ to pull downe the wykcd 

That waytcn anye w^kednes, Dowell to tene 

And DowELL and Dobet, amongest hem have ordeyned 

To crov, nc one to be kynge, to rule hem boeth 

That if DowELL and Dobet, arne^° agaynste Dobeste 

Then shall the kynge com, and cast hem in yrons 

And but if Dobest byd for hem, they be there for ever 

Thus Dowell and Dobet, and Dobeste the thyrd 

Crouned one to be king, to kepen hem al 

And to rule the realme, by her^^ thre wyttes 

And none other wise, but as they thre assentyd. 

I thanked Thought tho, that he me thus taught 

And yet favoreth me not thy suging, I covet to lerne, 

How Dowel Dobest and Dobetter, done among the people 

But Wyt can wish the^'' quoth THOUGHT, wer tho ^^ iii dwell 

Els wot I none that can tell, that nowe is alyvc. 

Thought and 1 thus, thre dayes we ycdcn" 

Disputynge upon Dowell, daye after other. 

And ere we were ware, with Wyt gan we mete 

He was longe and leane, lyke to none other 

Was no pryde on hys apparell, nor poverty nether 

^ Own. " Sought 8 Gctts. * Dealing Reckoning. • Drunkard, 

" Broken to pieces. 7 Translated 8 Draw. ' » Staff. lu Arc 

l» Their. 12 Thee. 13 They. "Went. 


Sadde of hys semblaunce, and of soft chere 

I durste not move no matter, to make hym to laughe, 

But as I bade THOUGHT tho be meane betwene 

And put forth some purpose, to prevent his wyts 

What was DowELL fro DOBET, and Doeest fro hem both. - 

Than Thought in that tyme, sayd these wordes 

Whether Dowell Doeet, and Dobest ben in land 

Here is vryl wold wyt, if WiT could teach him 

And whether he be man or woman, this man fain wold espy 

And worch as they thre wold, this is his enten. 

Here Dowell dwelleth quod WiT, not a day hence 

In a castcl thatkind^ made, of four kins things 

Of earth and ayre is it made, mingled togithers 

W^ith wind and with water, witterly^ enjoyned 

Kynde hath closed therein, craftely withall 

A Lemman^ that he loveth, like to him selfe 

An IMA she hyght, and Envye her hateth 

A proude pricker of Fraunce, princeps hujus mundi 

And woulde wynne her away with wiles and he myghte 

And Kind knoweth thys well, and kepeth her the better. 

And dothe her with sir Dowell is duke of thys marches 

DoBET is her damosell, sir Dowel's daughter 

To serve this lady lelly* both late and rathe^ 

Dobest is above both a byshops pere, 

That he byd moote be doo" he ruleth them all 

Anima that lady, is led by his leming. 

And the constable of the castell, that kepeth al the watche, 

Is a wyse knight withall, sir Inwit he hight 

And hath fyve fayre sonnes by his fyrst wyfe 

Syr Seewel and Saywel, and Hearwell the end 

Syr Worchwel with thy hand, a wight man of strength 

And Syr Godfray Gowel, great lordes forsoth 

These fyve bene set, to save this lady Anima 

Tyl Kind com or send, to save her for ever 

What kins thing is Kind quod I, canst thou me telle 

Kynd quod Witte is a creator, of al kinnis thinges 

Father and former of all, that ever was makyd 

And that is the great god that ginning had never 

Lord of lyfe and of light, of blys and of payne 

Angels and al thing arne at hys wyl. 

And man is him most like, of niarke^ and of shape, 

For through the word that he spake, wcxen forth bestes 

And made Adam, Hkest to him selfe one 

And Eve of his ribbe bone, without any meane 

For he was singuler him selfe, and sayde faciamus 

As who say more must hereto, then my worde one 

My might must hclpe now with my speche, 

Even as a lord shuld make Icters, and he lacked perchment 

Though he could write never so wel, if he had no pen 

The letters for al his lordship, I leve wer never imaked 

1 Nature. 2 CuQuiiigl/. •' Paramour. * Fair laily. ' Early. 

*! Must be done. Fashion. Similimde. 


And so it scmeth by him, as the bible telleth, 

There he sayde, Dixit et facta sunt. 

He must worch with hys word, and his wyt shewe 

And in this maner was man made, by might of God almighty 

With his word and his workmanship, and with life to last 

And thus God gave him a gostc^, of the godhed of heven 

And of his great grace, graunted him blysse 

And that is the castel that KiNDE made, Caro it hight 

And is as much to meane, as man with a soule 

And that he wrought with work, and with word both 

Through might of the majesty, man was imaked 

Inwyt and AJwyts, closed bene therin 

For love of the ladie Anima, that life is nempned* 

Over al in mans body, she walketh and wandreth 

And in the herte is hir home, and hir most" rest 

And Inwit is in the head, and to the herte loketh 

What Anima is leef or loth*, he leadith hyr at his wil. — 

Than had Wit a wife, was bote dame Study, 

That leve was of lere, and of liche boeth. 

She was wonderli wroghl, Wit me so teched 

And al staryrig dame Study, sternely sayde. 

Wei art you wise quoth she to Wyt, any wysdomes to tell 

To flatterers or to foles, that frentyke be of wyttes 

And blamed him and banned* him, and bade him be styl 

Wyth such wyse wordes, to wysh any sottes 

And sayde. Noli mittere man, Margarite Pearles 

Amonge hogges, that have hawes at wyll. 

They do but drivel thereon,'' drafe were hem lever^, 

Than al precious pearles that in paradice waxeth*. 

I say it by such, quod she, that shew it by her works, 

That hem were lever land'-*, and lordshyp on earth, 

Or rj'ches or rentes, and rest at her wyll, 

Than al the soth sawes, that Salomon sayde ever. 

Wysedome and wytte, nowe it not worth a kerse^^ 

But if it be carded with covetis^^, as clothers kemb her woule 

Whoso can contryve dcceites and conspyre wrongs 

And lead forth a love daye^^, to let wyth truth 

He that such craftes can, is oft cleped to counsell. 

They lead lords with leasinges, and bclieth truth 

Job the gcntel in his gestes, greatly wytnesseth 

That wicked men welden the wealth of this world 

The psalter sayeth the same, by such as done cvyl 

Ecce ipsi peccatorcs habundantes in seculo obtinuerunt divitias. 

Lo sayth holy lecture, which lords be these shrcwes ? 

Thilke that god gcveth most, lest good they dcaleth 

And most unkind be to that comen, that most catcl weldeth^'. 

Que perfecisti dcstruxerunt, Justus autem, Sec. 

Harlots for her harlotrye, maye have of her goodes 

1 Spirit.' 2 Named. 3 Greatest. ■* Willing. 6 Cursed. 

• Sec Draflc<i.ick. Chauc. Urr. p. 33. v. 1098. 7 Rather. 8 Grow. 

» They had rather. W Not worth a straw. U Covctousness. l^i Lady 

13 C'oTnma»d&. 


And japers and judgelers^, and jangelers of jestes 

And he that hath holy wryte, aye in his mouth 

And can tell of Tobie, and of the twelve apostles 

Or preache of the penauce, that Pilate falsely wrought 

To Jesu the gentle, that Jewes to drawe : 

Lyttle is he loved, that suche a lesson sheweth 

Or daunten or drawe forth, I do it on god him selfe 

But tho- that faine hem foles, and with sayting'^ liveth 

Againe the lawe of our lorde, and lien on hem selfe 

Spitten and spuen, and speake foule wordes 

Drynken and drivelen, and do men for to gape 

Lyken men, and lye on hem, and leneth hem no giftes 

They can* no more minstrelsy ne musyke men to glad 

Than Mundie the milner, of multa fecit deus. 

Ne were hir vyle harlotry, have god my trouth 

Shoulde never kynge ne knyght, ne canon of Poulcs 

Gyve hem to her yeres gyfte, ne gyft of a grote, 

And myrth and minstrelsy amongest men is nought 

Lecher}', losenchery^, and losels tales, 

Glotony and greate otlies, this mirthe they loveth, 

And if thei carpen® of Christ, these clerkes and these lewed. 

And they meet in her mirth, whan mynstrels ben styll 

Whan telleth they of the trinitie, a tale or twaine , 

And bringeth forth a blade reason, and take Bernard'' to witnes. 

And put forth a presumption to preve the soth 

Thus they dreveil at her dayse the deitie^ to scorn 

And gnawen God to hyr gorge" whan hyr guts fallen 

And the carefull^*^ may crye, and carpen at the gate 

Both a fyngerd and a furste, and for cheU^ quake 

Is none to nymen hem nere, his noye^^ to amend 

But hunten hym as a hounde, and hoten h)Tn go hence, 

Litle loveth he that lorde that lent hym al that blisse. 

That thus parteth withe pore, a percel whan him nedeth 

Ne were mercy in mean men, more than in rich 

Mendynauntes meatles^^, myght go to bedde. 

God is much in the gorge of these greate maisters. 

And amonges meane men, his mercy and hys worckcs 

And so sayeth the psalter, I have sene it oft. 

Clarkes and other kinnes men, carpen of god fast 

And have him much in the mouth, and meane men in hert 

Friers and fayters, have founden such questions 

To plese wyth the proud men, sith the pestilence time 

And preachen at S. Paules, for pure envi of clarks 

That folke is not firmed in the faythc, nc fre of her goodes 

Ne soryfor her synnes, so is pryde waxen, 

In religion, and in al the realme, amongest rich and pore 

That prayers have no pore, the pestilence to lette 

And yet the wretches of this worlde, arc none ware by other 

i Jugglers. - Tliey. ^ Deceiving. 4 Know. 

C Lying. « Spcik. 7 S. Bernard. » Their table. "Throat. 

10 Poor. ^ Told. '- Trouble. 13 Beggars supperless. 

VVARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY, 1 83 

Ne for dreade of the death, withdraw not her prid 

Ne ben plentuous to the pore, as pure charitie wold 

But in gaines and in glotony, forglote goods hem selfe 

And breketh not to the begger, as the boke teacheth. 

And the more he wynneth, and wcxeth weUhy in riches 

And lordcth in landes, the Icsse good he dcaleth 

Tobie telleth ye not so, takehcde ye ryche 

Howe the byble boke of hym beareth wytnes, 

Who so hath much spend manly, so meaneth Tobit. 

And who so lytle weldeth, rule hym thereafter, 

For we have no letter of our life, how long it shal endure 

Suchc lessons lordes, shoulde love to heare 

And how he myght most meyny, manylch fynde 

Not to fare as a fideler, or a frier to sekefeastes, 

Homely at other mens houses, and haten her owne. 

Elenge^ is the hal every day in the weke 

There the lorde ne the lady lyketh not to sytte 

Nowe hath eche ryche a rule-, to eaten by hem selfe 

In a privie parler, for poore mens sake 

Or in chambre wyth a chymney, and leave the chiefe hal 

That was made for meales, men to eate in. — 

And whan that Wytte was ware, what dame Studie told 

He became' so confuse he cunneth not loke 

And as dombc as death, and drew him arere^ 

And for no carping I cold after, ne kneling to therth 

I myght get no grayne, of his grete Avj'ttis 

But al laughynge he louted, and loked about upon Study 

In sygne that I shulde, besechen hyr of grace 

And when I was war of his wil, to his wife I loutid 

And sayde mercie madame, your man shal I worth 

As longe as I live both late and earlie 

For to worchen your wil, the whyle mi life endureth 

' With this that ye ken me kindlye, to know to what is DoWEL 
For thi mekcncs man quod she, and for thi milde spech 
I shal ken the to my cosen, that Clergye is hoten* 
He hath weddyd a wyfe, within these syx moneths 
Is syb^ to the seven artes. Scripture is hyr name 
They two as 1 hope, after my teachinge 
Shal wishen the Dowel, I dare under take. 
Than was I as fayne^, as foule^ of fayr morow 

' And glader then the gleman* that golde hath to gyfte 
And asked hir the high way where that Clergie" dwelt 
And tellme some token quod I,for tymc isthat I wend 
Askc the hygh waye quod she, hence to suffer 
Both wel and woo, if that thou wylt learne 
And ryde forthc by riches, and rest thou not therin, 
For if thou couplcst ye therwith to clcrgie comest thou never, 
And also the licores landc that lechery hight 

1 Strange, deserted. Henry VI 1 1, in a letter to Anne Bullen, speaks of liis ElUn^iess since 
her dcjjariure. Hearnc's Avesb. p. 360. 2 Custom. 3 Back. 

■•Named.. 8 Mother, or Cousin. <1 Cheerful. 7 Bird. 

« Harper. 8 Learning. 


Leave it on thy left half, a large mile and more, 

Tyll thou come to a courte, kepe well thy tonge 

Fro leasinges and lyther speach\ and licorous drinckes 

Than shalt thou se Sobrietie, and Simplicitie of speche 

That ech might be in his vvyll, his vvytte to shewe 

And thus shalt ye come to Cleargye that can mani thinges 

Saye hym thyg signe, I sette him to schole 

And that I grete vvel his wife, for I wrot her many bokes 

And set hir to Sapience, and to the psalter glose 

Logike I learned her, and manye other lawes, 

And all the unisons tomusike, I made hir to know, 

Plato the poete, I put him firste to boke, 

Aristotle and other moe, to argue I taught ■ 

Grammer for gyrles, I garde firste to wryte 

And beat hem with a bales, but if they would learne 

Of all kinnes craftes, I contrived tooles 

Of carpentre of carvers, and compassed masons 

And learned hem level and line, though I loke dimme 

And Theologie hath tened me, seven score times, 

The more I muse therin, the mistier it semeth 

And the deper I devine, the darker me it thynketh. 

The artifices arid persuasions of the monks to procure donations to 
their convents, are thus humorously ridiculed, in a strain which seems 
to have given rise to Chaucer's Sompnour'S Tale. 

Than he assoyled her sone, and sithen he sayde : 
We have a windowe in working, wil set us ful high, 
Woudst thou glase the gable, and grave therin thy name, 
Scher shoulde thy soule be heven to have^, &c. 

COVETISE or Covetousness, is thus drawn in the true colours of 
satirical painting. 

1 Wanton. 

2 fol. xii. a. b. These, and the fono\ving lines, are plainly copied by Chaucer, viz 

And I shall cover yourkyrke, and your cloisture do maken. 

Chaucer, Sompn. T. p. 93. v. 835. edit. Urr. But with new strokes of humour. 
Veve me then of thy golde to make our cloyster. 
Quod he, for many a muscle and many an oyster. 
Whan othir men have been full well at ease. 
Have ben our fode our cloyster for to reyse. 
And yet, god wote, unnethe the fundament 
Parfourmid is, ne of our pavement 

Thar is not yet a tile within our wones, > 

Bigod, we owe fourtic pound for stones. 

So also in the Ploughman's Ckede, hereafter mentioned. Sig. B. iii. A friar says, 

So that thou mow amende our house with money other els 
With som catal, other corn or cuppes of sylvere 

And again. Sign. A. iii. ibid. 

And mightest on amenden as with money of thine own, 
Tliou sholdest kncly bifore Christ in compas of gold, 
In the wide wyndowe westward, wel nigh in the midel. 

That is, 'your figure shall be painted in glass, in the middle of the west window, &c.' But of 
this passage hereafter. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 1 85 

And then came Covetis, can I him no discrive, 

So hungcrly and hollowe, so stcrncly he lokcd, 

He was bittle-browed and babcrlypped also ; 

Wyth two blcrcd eyen as a blinde haggc, 

And as a lethrcn purse lolled his chckcs, 

Wen sydcr than his chyn they shevered for colde : 

And as abound man of his bacon his bcrd was bidrauled, 

With a hode on his heade, and a lousy hatte above. 

And in a tawny taberde\ of twelve winter age, 

Alle torne and baudye, and full of lyce creepinge ; 

But that yf a louse could have Icpen the better, 

She had not walked on the welte, so was it thredbare. 
.., I have been Covetise, quoth this catife, 
-'• For sometime I servid Symme at style, 

And was his prentice plight, his profyt to wate. 

Fyrst I lernid to lye, a leef other twayne 

Wychedly to way, was my first lesson : 

To Wy^ and to Winchester^ I went to the fayre 

1 Tabard. A coat. 

2 Wy is probably Weybill in Hampshire, where a famous fair still subsists. 

3 Anciently, before many flourishing towns were established, and the necessaries or orna- 
ments of life, from the convenience of communication and the increase of provincial civility, 
could be procured in various places, goods and commodities of every kind, were chiefly sold at 
fairs ; to which, as to one universal mart, the people resorted periodically, and supplied most 
of their wants for the ensuing year. The display of merchandise, and the conflux of custo- 
mers, at these principal and almost only emporia of domestic commerce, was prodigious : and 
they were therefore often held on open and extensive plains. One of the chief of them seems 
to have been that of St. Giles's hill or down near Winchester, to which our poet here refers. 
It was instituted and given as a kind of revenue to the bishop of Winchester, by William the 
conqueror ; who by his charter permitted it to continue for three days. But in consequence' 
of new royal grants, Henry III. prolonged its continuance to si.vteen days. Its jurisdic- 
tion extended seven miles round, and comprehended even Southampton, then a capital trading 
town : and all merchants who sold wares within that circuit, forfeited them to the bishop. 
Officers were placed at a considerable distance, at bridges and other avenues of access to the 
fair, to exact toll of all merchandise passing that way. In the meantime, all shops in the city 
of Winchester were shut. In the fair was a court called the pavilion, at which the's 
justiciaries and other officers assisted, with power to try causes of various sorts for seven miles 
round : nor, among other singular claims, could any lord of a manor hold a court-baron within 
the said circuit, without licence from the pavilion. During this time, the bishop was em- 
powered to take toll of every load or parcel of goods passing through the gates of the city. 
On St. Giles's eve, the mayor, bailiffs, and citizens of the city of Winchester, delivered the 
keys of the four city gates to the bishop's officers ; who, during the said 16 days, appointed z 
mayor and bailiff of their own to govern the city, and also a coroner to act withui the said 
city. Tenants of the bishop, who held lands by doing service at the pavilion, attended the 
same with horses and armour, not only to do suit at the court there, but to be ready to assist 
the bishop's officers in the execution of writs and other services. But I cannot here enu- 
merate the many extraordinary privileges granted to the bishop on this occasion ; all tending 
to obstruct trade, and to oppress the people. Numerous foreign merchants frequented this 
fair: and it appears, that the justiciaries of the pavilion, and the treasurer of the bishop's 
palace of Wolvescy, received annually for a fee, according to ancient custom, four basons and 
ewers, of those foreign merchants who sold brazen vessels in the fair, and were called merca- 
torrs liinuiitercs. In the fair several streets were formed, a.ssigned to the sale of different 
commodities ; and called the Drafiery, the Pottery, the Spiccry, &c. Many monasteries, in 
and alKjut Winchester, had shops, or, in these streets, used only at the fair, which they 
held under the bishop, and often lett by lease for a term of years. One place in the fair was 
called Sprciariunt Sa>icti S-wythiiii, or tlie Spiccry of Saint Sivithiiis monastery. In the 
revenue-rolls of the ancient bishops of Winchester, this fair makes a grand and separate article 
of reception, under this title. Keria. Com iitus ffcrue sancti Egidii. But in the revenue- 
roll of bishop Will, of Waynflctc, [an. 1471.] it appears to have preatly decayed : in which, 
among other proofs, I find mention made of a district in the fair being unoccupied, ' Ubi 
' honiincs Cornubiie stare solebant,' F'rom whence it likewise appears that different counties 
had their different stations. The whole reception to the bishop this year from the fair, 
amounted only to 45/. i8j. yi. Yet this sum, small as it may seem, was worth upwards of 


With mani manner merchandise, as mi master me hight.— 
Than drave I me among drapers my donet^ to lerne. 
To draw the lyfer along, the longer it semed 
Among the rich rayes, &:c. 

Our author, who probably could not get preferment, thus'inveighs 
against the luxury and diversions of the prelates of his age. 

400/. Edward I. sent a precept to the sheriff of Hampshire, to restore to the bishop this fair 
which his escheator Malcolm de Harleigh had seized into the king's hands, without command 
of the treasurer and barons of the exchequer, in the year 1292. Registr. Joh. de Pontissara, 
Episc. Wint. fol. 195. After the charter of Henry III., many kings by charter confirmed this, 
fair, with all its privileges, to the bishops of Winchester. The last charter was of Henry 
VIII. to bishop Richard Fox and his successors, in the year 1511. But it was followed by the 
usual confirmation-charter of Charles II. In the year 1 144, when Brian Fitz-count, lord of 
Wallingford in Berkshire, maintained W^llingford castle, one of the strongest garrisons 
belonging to Maud the empress, and consequently sent out numerous parties for contributions 
and provisions, Henry de Blois bishop of Winchester enjoined him not to molest any passen- 
gers that were coming to his fair at Winchester, under pain of excommunication. Omnibus 
ad Feriam meam venientibus, &c. MSB. Dodsworth. vol. 89 f 76, Bibl. Bodl. This was in 
king Stephen's reign. In that of Richard I., in the year 1194, the king grants to Portsmouth 
a fair lasting_ days, with all the privileges of St. Giles's fair at Winchester. Anderf. 
Hist. Com. i. 197. In the year 1234, the eighteenth of Henry II., the fermier of the city of 
Winchester paid twenty pounds to Ailward chamberlain of Winchester castle, to buy a robe 
at this fair for the king's son, and divers silver implements for a chapel in the castle. Madox, 
Exch. p. 251. It appears from a curious record now remaining, containing The Establish- 
7)zent and Expe7ises of the houskoldoi Henry Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland, in the year 
1512, and printed by doctor Percy, that the stores of his lordship's house at Wresille, for the 
whole year, were laid in from fairs. ' He that standes charged with my lordes house for the 
'houU yeir, if he may possible, shall be at all F aires \vhere the groice emptions shall be 
' boughte for the house for the houU yeire, as wine, wax, beiffes, multons, wheite, and maltie,* 
p. 407. This last quotation is a proof, that fairs still continued to be the principal marts for 
purchasing necessaries in large quantities, which now are supplied by frequent trading towns ; 
z^nd the mention of beiffes and Dizilions, which were salteri oxen and sheep, shews that at so 
late a period they knew but little of breeding cattle. Their ignorance of so important an 
article of husbandry, is also an evidence that in the reign of Henry VIII. the state of the 
population was much lower among us than we may imagine. 

In the statutes of St. Mary Ottery's college in Devonshire, given by bishop Grandison the 
founder, the stewards and sacrist are ordered to purchase annually two hundred pounds of 
wax for the choir of the college, at this fair. 'Cap. Ixvii. — Pro luminaribus vero omnibus 
' supradictis inveniendis, etiam statuimus, quod senescalli scaccarii per visum et auxilium 
'sacriste, omni anno, in NUNDiNis WvNTON, vel alibi apud Toryngton et injpartibus Barn- 
' stepol, ceram sufficientem, quam ad ducentas libras Eestimamus pro uno anno ad minus, 
'facianc provideri.' These statutes were granted in the year 1338. MSS. apud. Registr. 
Prioiat. S. Swithin, Winton. In Archiv. Wolves. In the accompts of the Priories of Max- 
toke in Warwickshire, and of Bicester in Oxfordshire, under the reign of Henry VI., the 
monks appear to have laid in yearly stores of various yet common neccessaries, at the fair of 
Sturbridge in Cambridgeshire, at least one hundred miles distant from either monastery. It 
may seem surprising, that their own neighbourhood, including the cities of Oxford and 
Coventry, could not supply them with commodities neither rare nor costly, which they thus 
fetched at a considerable expense of carriage. It is a rubric in some of the monastic rules, 
De Euntibus ad Nundinas. See Dugd. RIon. Angl. ii. p. 746. It is hoped the reader will 
excuse this tedious note, which at least developes ancient manners and customs. 

1 Lesson. Properly a Grammar, from JElius Donatiis the grammarian. Chaucer, Testam, 
L. p. 504, b. edit. Urr. ' No passes to vertues of this Margarita, but therein al my dotiet can t 
* lerne.' In the statutes of Winchester-college, [written about 1386,] grammar is called 
' Antlquus donatus,' i. e.the old donat, or' the name of a system of grammar at that time in 
vogue, and long before. The French have a book entitled ' Le Donnet, traite de graimnaire, 
'bailie a feu roi Charles viii.' Among Rawlinson's manuscripts at Oxford, I have seen 
Donatus optimus noviter coinjtilatiis, a manuscript on vellum, given to St. Alban's, by John 
Stoke, abbot, in 1450. In the introduction, or lytell Proheine, to Dean Colct's Gramm.i- 
TICES RuDiMENTA, We find mention made of 'certayne introducyons into latyn speche called 
'Donates, &c.' Among the books written by bishop Pecock, there is the Donat into chris- 
tian religion, and the E'olowcr to tlic Donat. Lewis's Pecock, p. 317. I think I have 
before observed, that John of Basing, who flourished in the year 1240, calls his Greek Gram- 
mar Donatus Gr>ecorum. Pegge's Weseham, p. 51. Wynkyn de Worde printed 
Donatus ad Anglicanarum scholarum usum. Cotgrave (in V.) quotes an old French 
proverb, ' Les diables estoient encores a leur Donat, The devils were but yet in their 

barton's history of ENGLISH POETRY. 1 87 

And now is religion a rider, a romer by the streete, 

A leader of lovedayes^ and a loudc" beggar 

A pricker on a palfrey from mancr to maner, 

An heape of houndcs at his arse as he a lord were'. 

And yf but his knave knele, that shall hys cope bryng, 

He loured on hym, and asked who taught him cuitesye*. 

There is great picturesque humour in the following lines. 

Hunger in best tho bent wastour by the maw. 

And wTong him so by the wombe that both his eies watered ; 

He buft'cted the breton about the chekes 

That he lokcd lyke a lanternc al his life after^. 

And in the following, where the Vices are represented as converted 
and coming to confession, among which is the figure of Envy. 

Of a freres froke were the fore sieves, - 

And as a leke that hath lied long in the^sunne 
So looked he with leane chekes, lowering foule". 

It would be tedious to transcribe other strokes of humour with which 
this poem abounds. Before one of the Visions the poet falls asleep 
while he is bidding his beads. In another he describes Antichrist, 
whose banner is borne by Pride, as welcomed into a monastery with 
ringing of bells, and a solemn congratulatory procession of all the 
monks marching out to meet and receive him'''. 

1 Levadies. Ladies. 8 Lewd. 

3 Walter de Suffield, bishop of Norwich, bequeathes by will his pack of hounds to the king, 
in 1256. Blomefield's Norf. ii. 347. Chaucer's Monke, Prol. v. 165. This was a common 
topic of satire. It occurs again, fol. xxvii. a. Chaucer's Testament of Love, p. 492, col. 
ii. Urr. The archdeacon of Richmond, on his visitation, comes to the priory of Bridlington in 
Yorkshire, in 1216, with 97 horses, -jj dogs, and 3 hawks, Dugd. JVIon. ii. 65. 

* Fol. 1. a. The following prediction, although a probable conclusion, concerning a king, 
who after a time would suppress the religious houses, is remarkable. I imagined it was foisted 
into the copies, in the reign of king Henry VIII. But it is in MSS. of this poem older than 
the year 1400, fol. 1. a. b. 

And THER SHALL COME A KING, and confesse your religions 

And bete you as the bible telleth, for brcking of your rule: 

And amende moniales, monkes and chanoines. 

And then friers in her freytor shall fynd a key 

Of Consiantynes coffers, in which is the cataf. 

That Grcgories godchyldren had it dispcnded. 

And than shall the abot of Abingdon, and all his issue for ever. 

Have a knocke of a kikg, and incurable the wound. " 

Again, fol. Ixxxv. a. Where he alludes to thq knights-templars, lately suppressed. 

Men of holie kirke 

Shall turne as templars did, i/te iyme approcJieih itere. 

This, I suppose, was a favourite doctrine in WicklifTe's discourses. I cannot help taking 
notice of a passage in Piers Plowman, which shows how the reigning passion for chivalry in- 
fected the ideas and expressions of the writers of this period. The poet is describing the 
crucifixion, and speaking of the person who pierced our Saviour's side with a spear. This 
person our author calls a knight, and says that he came forth, 'witk his spere in hand, and 
' justed -ii'ith Jesus.' Afterwards for doing so base an act as that of wounding a dead body, 
he is pronounced a di'igracc to knighthood: and our ' Chainpion chevalier- chye/e knyght' is 
ordered to >;>/</ himself recreant. Fol. Ixxxviii. b. This knight's name is Longis, and he is 
blind : but receives his sight from the blood which springs from our Saviour's .side. This 
miracle is recorded in the Golden Lkgende. He is called Longias, 'A blinde knight njea 
ycallid LonKb-s,' in Chaucer, Lam. Mar. Magd. v. 177. 
FoL xxiii, b. « fol. xliL a. 7 fol cxii. x 


These images of Mercy and Tiaith are in a different strain. 

Out of the west cost, a wenche as me thought, 
Come walking m the way, to hevnward she loked ; 
Mercy hight that mayde, a meke thyng withall, 
A full benigne byrde, and buxome of speech ; 
Her syster, as yt seemed, came worthily walking, 
Even out of theste, and westward she loked, 
A ful comely creature. Truth she hyght, 
For the vertue that her folowed afered was she never. 
When these maydens mette, Mercy and Truth, 
Eyther asked other of this gret marvel, 
Of the din and of the darknes, iS:c\ 

The imagery of Nature, or Kinde, sending forth his diseases from 
the planets, at the command of Conscience, and of his attendants 
Age and Death, is conceived with sublimity. 

Kynde Conscience then heard, and came out of the planetts, 

And sent forth his forriours Fevers, and Fluxes, 

Coughes, and Cardiacles, Crampes, and Toth-aches, 

Reumes, and Radgondes, and raynous Scalles, 

Byles, and Botches, and burnynge Agues, 

Freneses and'foule Evill, foragers of Kynde ! 

Ther was ' Harowe ! and Helpe ! here cometh Kynde ! 

* With Death that is dreadfull, to undo us all !' 

The lord that lyveth after lust tho aloud cried. — 

Age the boore, he was in the vaw-ivard, 

And bare the banner before Death; by rygkt he it claimed. 

Kynde came after, with many kene sores, 

As Pockes and Pestilences, and much people shent. 

So Kynde through cormptions, kylled full many : 

Death came dryvyng after, and all to dust pashed 

Kyngs and Kaysers, knightes and popes. 

Many a lovely lady, and lemman of knightes, 

Swoned and swelted for sorowe of Death's dyntes. 

Conscience, of his curtesye, to Kynde he besoght 

To cease and sufire, and se where they wolde 

Leave Pride prively, and be perfite christen. 

And Kywde ceased tho, to see the people amende^. 

These lines at least put us in mind of Milton's Lazarhouse'. 

Immediately a place 

Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark : 
A lazar-house it seem'd, wherein were laid 
Numbers of all diseas'd : all maladies 
Of gastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms 
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, 
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, 
Intestine stone, and ulcer, cholic pangs, 

1 fol. IxxxviiL b. 2 Fol. cxiiL sk 3 far. L. iL 475, 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 189 

Demoniac phrcnzy, moping melancholy, 
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, 
Marasmus, and wide-wasting Pestilence ; 
Dropsies and asthma, and joint-racking rheum. 
Dire was the Tossing ! Deep the groans ! DESPAIR 
Tended the sick, busy from couch to couch : 
And over them triumphant Death his dart 
Shook, but dclay'd to strike, &c. 

At length Fortune or Pride sends forth a numerous army led by 
Lust, to attack Conscience. 

And gadered a greate hoste, all agayne CONSCIENCE : 

This Lechery led on, with a laughyng chere. 

And with a privye speeche, and payntcd wordes. 

And armed him in idleness and m high bear>'ng. 

He bare a bowe in his hand, and many bloudy arrowes, 

Were fethered with faire behest, and many a false truth. 

Afterwards Conscience is besieged by Antichrist, and seven gi"eat 
giants, who are the seven capital or deadly sins : and the assault is 
made by SLOTH, who conducts an army of more than a thousand 
prelates ! 

It is not improbable, that Longland here had his eye on the old 
French Roman d'Antechrist, a poem written by Huon de Meri, 
about the year 1228. The author of this piece supposes that Anti- 
christ is on earth, that he visits every profession and order of life, and 
finds numerous partisans. The Vices arrange themselves under the 
banner of Antichrist, and the Virtues under that of Christ. 
These two armies at length come to an engagement, and the battle 
ends to the honour of the Virtues, and the total defeat of the Vices. 
The Banner of Antichrist has before occurred in our quotations 
from Longland. The title of Huon de Meri's poem deserves notice. 
It is Turnovement de l'Antechrist. These are the concluding 

Par son droit nom a peau cet livre 

Qui tresbien s'avorde a 1' escrit 

Le Tournoievient de V Antechrisf. 

The author appears to have been a monk of St. Germain des Pres, 
near Paris. This allegory is much like that which we find in the old 
dramatic Moralities. The theology of the middle ages abounded 
with conjectures and controversies concerning Antichrist, who at a 
v^ry early period was commonly believed to be the Roman pontiff^ 

1 See tlii.'; topic discussed with singular penetration and perspicuity, by Dr. Hura, in 
Twelve Sekmons inikooi;ctorv to the Study of the Pkoi'Hecies. Lond. 1772. 



To the Vision of Pierce Plowman has been commonly annex-ed a 
poem called Pierce the Plowman's Crede, and which may properly 
be considered as its appendage^ It is professedly written in imitation 
of our Vision, but by a different hand. The author, in the character 
of a plain uninformed person, pretends to be ignorant of his creed ; to 
be instructed in the articles of which, he applies by turns to the four 
orders of mendicant friars. This circumstance affords an obvious oc- 
casion of exposing in lively colours the tricks of those societies. After 
so unexpected a disappointment, he meets one Pierce, or Peter, a plow- 
man, who resolves his doubts, and teaches him the principles of true 
religion. In a copy of the Crede lately presented to me by the bishop 
of Gloucester, and once belonging to Mr. Pope, the latter in his own 
hand has inserted the following abstract of its plan. ' An ignorant 

* plain man having learned his Pater-nost-er and Ave-mary, wants to 
' learn his creed. He asks several religious men of the several orders 
' to teach it him. First of a friar Minor, who bids him beware of the 
' Carmelites, and assures him they can teach him nothing, describing 
' their faults, &c. But that the friars Minors shall save him, whether 
' he learns his creed or not. He goes next to the friars Preachers, 
' whose magnificent monastery he describes : there he meets a fat friar, 
'who declaims against the Augustines. He is shocked at his pride, 

* and goes to the Augustines. They rail at the Minorites. He goes to 
'theCarmes; they abuse the Dominicans, but promise him salvation 
'without the creed, for money. He leaves them with indignation, and 
' finds an honest poor Plowman in the field, and tells him how he was 
' disappointed by the four orders. The plowman answers with a long 

* invective against them.' 

The language of the Crede is less embarrassed and obscure than 
that of the VISION. But before I proceed to a specimen, it may not 
be perhaps improper to prepare the reader, by giving an outline of the 
constitution and character of the four orders of mendicant friars, the 
object of our poet's satire: an enquiry in many respects connected with 
the general purport of this history, and which, in this place at least, 
cannot be deemed a digression,, as it will illustrate the main subject, 
and explain many particular passages of the Plowman's Crede^. 

Long before the thirteenth century, the monastic orders, as we liave 

1 The first edition is by R. Wolf, Londyn, 1553, 4to. In four sheets. It was reprinted, and 
added to Rogers's, or the fourth edition of the Vision, 1561. It was evidently written after 
the year 1384. Wickliffe died in that year, and he is mentioned as no longer living, in Sig- 
iiat. C. ii. edit. 1561. Walter Britte, or Brithe, a follower of Wickliffe, is also mentioned, 
Signat. C. lii. Uritte is placed by Bale in 1390 Cent. vi. 04. Fuller's Worth, p. 8. hVales. 
"The reader will pardon this small anticipation for the sake of connection, 

2 And of some perhaps quoted above from the Vision, 

WarTon's History of English poetry^ 191 

paftly secrt in the preceding poem, in consequence of tlicir ample re- 
venues, had degenerated from their primitive austerity, and were totally 
given up to luxury and indolence. Hence they became both unwill- 
ing and unable to execute the purposes of their establishment : to in- 
struct the people, to check the growth of heresies, or to promote in any 
respect the true interests of the church. They forsook all their re- 
ligious obligations, despised the authority of their superiors, and were 
abandoned without shame or remorse to every species of dissipation 
and licentiousness. About the beginning therefore of the thirteenth 
centuiy, the condition and circumstances of the church rendered it 
absolutely necessary to remedy these evils, by introducing a new order 
of religion, who being destitute of fixed possessions, by the severity 
of their manners, a professed corttcmpt of riches, and an unwearied 
perseverance in the duties of preaching and prayer, might restore re- 
spect to the monastic institution, and recover the honours of the church. 
These were the four orders of mendicant or begging friars, commonly 
denominated the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Carmelites, and the 

These societies soon surpassed all the rest, not only in the purity of 
their lives, but in the number of their privileges, and the multitude of 
their members. Not to niention the success which attends all novelties, 
their reputation arose quickly to an amazing height. The popes, among 
other uncommon immunities, allowed them the liberty of travelling 
wherever they pleased, of conversing with persons of all ranks, of in-- 
structing the youth and the people in general, and of hearing confes- 
sions, without reserve or restriction : and as on these occasions, which 
gave them opportunities of appearing in public and conspicuous situa- 
tions, they exhibited more striking marks of gravity and sanctity than 
were observable in the deportment and conduct of the members of 
other monasteries, they were regarded with the highest esteem and ven- 
eration throughout all the countries of Europe. 

In the mean time they gained still greater respect, by cultivating the 
literature then in vogue, with the greatest assiduity and success. 
Gianoni says, that most of the theological professors in the university 
of Naples, newly founded in the year 1220, were chosen from the men- 
dicants^. They were the principal teachers of theology at Paris, the 
school where this science had received its origin^. At Oxford and 
Cambridge respectively, all the four orders had flourishing monasteries. 
The most learned scholars in the university of Oxford, at the close of 

} The Franciscans were often styled friars-minors, orminorites, and grey-friars: the Dominicans, 
friars-preachers, and sometimes black-friars. The Carmelites white-friars ; and the Austins 
grey-friars. The first establi.shment of the Dominicans in England was at Oxford in 1221. Of 
the Franciscans at Canterbury. These two were the most eminent of the four orders. The 
Dominican friary at Oxford stood in an island on the south of the city, south-west of the 
Franciscan friary, the site of which is hereafter described. 

* Hist. Nap. xiv. 3. 

• bouL Hist. Acadcm. Paris, iii. p. 138. 240. 244. 248, &c. 


the thirteenth century, were Franciscan friars: and long after this 
period, the Franciscans appear to have been the sole support and orna- 
ment of that university^ Hence it was that bishop Hughde Balsham, 
founder of Peter-house at Cambridge, orders in his statutes given about 
the year 1280. that some of his scholars should annually repair to 
Oxford for improvement in the sciences ^. That is, to study under the 
Franciscan readers. Such was the eminence of the Franciscan friary 
at Oxford, that the learned bishop Grosthead, in the year 1253, be- 
queathed all his books to that celebrated seminary^. This was the 
house in which the renowned Roger Bacon was educated ; who revived, 
in the midst of barbarism, and brought to a considerable degree of 
perfection the knowledge of mathematics in England, and greatly fa- 
ciliated many modern discoveries in experimental philosophy*. The 
same fraternity is likewise said to have stored their valuable library 
with a multitude of Hebrew manuscripts, which they purchased of the 
Jews on their banishment from England^ Richard de Bury bishop of 
Durham, author of Philobiblon, and the founder of a library at Ox- 
ford, is prolix in his praises of the mendicants for their extraordinary 
diligence in collecting books^. Indeed it became difficult in the be- 
ginning of the fourteenth century to find any treatise in the arts, 
theology, or canon law, commonly exposed to sale ; they were all uni- 
versally bought up by the friars'^. This is mentioned by Richard Fitz- 
ralph, archbishop of Amagh, in his discourse before the pope at Avignon 
in 1357, their bitter and professed antagonist ; who adds, without any 

1 This circumstance in some degree roused the monks from their indolence, and induced 
the greater monasteries to procure the foundation of small colleges in the universities for the 
education of their novices. At Oxford the monks had also schools which bore the name of 
their respective orders : and there were schools in that vmivcrsity which were appropriated 
to particular monasteries. Kennett's Paroch. Adt. p. 214. Wood, Hist. Ant. Univ. Oxon. i. 
119. Leland says, that even in his time, at Stamford, a temporary university, the names of 
halls inhabited by the novices of Peterborough, Sempringham, and Vauldrey abbies, were re- 
maining. Itin. vi. p. 21. And it appears, that the greater part of the proceeders in theologj' 
at Oxford and Cambridge, just before the reformation, were monks. But we do not find, 
that in consequence of all these efforts, the monks made a much greater figure in literature. 

In this rivalry which subsisted between the mendicants and the monks, the latter sometimes 
availed themselves of their riches : and with a view to attract popularity, and to eclipse the 
growing lustre of the former, proceeded to their degrees in the universities with prodigious 
parade. In the year 1298, William de Brook, a Benedictine of St. Peter's abbey, at Glouces- 
ter, took the degree of doctor in divinity at Oxford. He was attended on this important 
occasion by the abbot and whole convent of Gloucester, the abbots of Westminster, Reading, 
Abingdon, Evesham, and Malmesbury, with one iiundred noblemen and esquires, on horses 
richly caparisoned. These were entertained at a sumptuous fea^t in the refectory of Glou- 
cester college. But it should be observed, that he was the first of the Benedictine order that 
attained this dignity. Wood, Hist, Ant. Univ. Oxon. L 25. col. i. See also Stevens, 
Mon. I. 70. 

2 ' De scholaribus emittendis ad universitatem Oxonie pro doctrina.' Cap. xviii. 

3 Leland, Script. Brit. p. 283. This house stood just without the city walls, near Little- 
gate. The garden called Paradise was their grove or orchard. 

■* It is probable, that the treatises of many of E.acon's scliolars and followers, collected by 
Thomas Allen in the reign of James I., still remain among the MSS. of Sir Kenelm Digby in 
the Bodleian library. 

6 Wood, ubi supr. i. 77. col. 2. 

8 Philobibl. cap. v. This book was written 1344. 

7 Yet I find a decree made at Oxford, where these orders of friars flourished so greatly, in 
the year 1373, to check the cxccssiz'e viuUitude of persons selling books in the university 
without licence. Vet. Stat. Univ. Oxon. D. fol. 75. Archiv. BooL 


intention of paying them a compliment, that all the mendicant con- 
vents wore furnished with a ' grandis et nobilis libraria'. Sir Richard 
Whittington built the library of the Grey Friars in London, which was 
129 feet long, and 12 broad, with 28 dcsks^. About the year 1430, one 
hundred marks were paid for transcribing the profound Nicholas de 
Lyra, in two volumes, to be chained in this library.^ Leland relates, 
that John Wallden, a learned Carmelite, bequeathed to the same library 
as many manuscripts of approved authors, written in capital roman 
characters, as were then estimated at more than 2,000 pieces of gold*. 
He adds, that this library, even in his time, exceeded all others in 
London for multitude of books and antiquity of copies^. Among many 
other instances which might be given of the learning of the mendicants, 
there is one which greatly contributed to establish their literary cha- 
racter. In the eleventh century, Aristotle's philosophy had been con- 
demned in the university of Paris as heretical. About a hundred years 
afterwards, these prejudices began to subside; and new translations of 
Aristotle's wTitings were published in Latin by our countryman Michael 
Scotus, and others, with more attention to the original Greek, at least 
without the pompous and perplexed circumlocutions which appeared 
in the Arabic versions hitherto used. In the mean time the mendicant 
orders sprung up: who happily availing themselves of these new transla- 
tions, and making them the constant subject of their scholastic lectures 
were the first who revived the doctrines of this philosopher, and ac- 
quired the merit of having opened a new system of science". The 
Dominicans or Spain were accomplished adepts in the learning and 
language of the Arabians ; and were employed by the kings of Spain 
in the instruction and conversion of the numerous Jews and Saracens 
who resided in their dominions". 

1 MSS. BibL Bodl. Propositio coram papa, &c. And MSS. C C. C. Oxon. 182. Proposi- 
tio cor.-im, &c. See a translation of this Sermon by Trcvisa, MSS. Harl. 1900. fol. Pergam. 2 
See f. II. See also Browne's append. Fa-scic. Rer. expetend. fugiend. ii. p. 466. I believe 
this discourse has been printed twice or thrice at Paris. In which, .says the archbishop, there 
were 30,000 scholars at Oxford in my youth, but now (1357,) scarce 6000. At Bennet in Cam- 
bridge, there is a curious MSS. of one of Fitzrauf's Sermons, in the first leaf of which there is 
a drawing of four dcs'ils, hugging four mendicant friars, one of each of the four orders, with 
great familiarity and affection, SiSS. L. 16. Tliis book belonged to Adam Eston, a very 
learned Benedictine cjf Norwich, and a witness against Wjckcliffe at Rome, where he lived the 
greatest part of his life, in 1370. 

2 Stowe's Surv. Lond. p. 255. edit. IS99- 

3 Stowc, ibid. p. 251. Stevens, Monast. i. 112. * Aurei. 
' Script. Brit. p. 441. And Collcctan, iii. p. 52. 

6 See Joann. Laun. de varia Aristotel. Fortun. in Acad. Paris, p. 78. edit. Paris, 1662. 

" R. Simon's Lett. Chois. torn iii. p. 112. They studied the arts of popular entertainment. 
•Tic mendicants, I believe, were the only religious in Eneland who acted play.s. The Ckea- 
TioN OF THE World, annually performed by the Grey friars at Coventry, is still extant. See 
supr. p. 92, 243. And they seem to have been famous abroad for exhibitions. Gualva- 
nci dc la Flamma, who flourished about the year 1140, has the following curious passage in 
his chronicle of the Vicf.comites of Milan, published by Muratori. In the year 1336, .>;ays 
he, on the feast of Epiphany, the first feast of the three kings was celebrated at Milan, by 
the convent of the friars preachers. The three kings appeared crowned on three great Jiurses, 
richly habited, surrounded by pages, body-guards, and an innumerable relinue. A golden 
star was exhibited in the sky, going before them. They proceeded to the pillars of S. Law- 
rence, where king Herod was represented with Iiis scribes and wise-men. The three kiiigs 



The buildings of the mendicant monasteries, especially in England, 
were remarkably magnificent, and commonly much exceeded those of 
the endowed convents of the second magnitude. As these fraternities 
were professedly poor, and could not from their original institution 
receive estates, the munificence of their benefactors was employed in 
adorning their houses with stately refectories and churches : and for 
these and other purposes they did not want address to procure multi- 
tudes of patrons, which was facilitated by the notion of their superior 
sanctity. It was fashionable for persons of the highest rank to bequeath 
their bodies to be buried in the friary churches, which were conse- 
quently filled with sumptuous shrines and superb monuments^ In 
the noble church of the Grey friars in London, finished in the year 1325, 
but long since destroyed, four queens, besides upwards of six hundred 
persons of quality, were buried, whose beautiful tombs remained till 
the dissolution^. These interments imported considerable sums of 
money into the mendicant societies. It is probable that they derived 
more benefit from casual charity than they would have gained from a 
regular endowment. The Franciscans indeed enjoyed from the popes 
the privilege of distributing indulgences, a valuable indemnification 
for their voluntaiy poverty^. 

On the whole, two of these mendicant institutions, the Dominicans, 
and the Fanciscans, for the space of near three centuries, appear to 
have governed the European church and state with an absolute and 
universal sway ; they filled, during that period, the most eminent 
ecclesiastical and civil stations, taught in the universities with an 
authority which silenced all opposition, and maintained the preroga- 
tive of the Roman pontiff against the united influence of prelates 
and kings, with a vigour only to be paralleled by its success. The 
Dominicans and Franciscans were, before the reformation, exactly 
what the Jesuits have been since. They disregarded the monastic 
character and profession, and were employed not only in spiritual 
matters, but in temporal affairs of the greatest consequence, in com- 
posing the differences of princes, concluding treaties of peace, and 
concerting alhances: they presided in cabinets councils, levied 
national subsides, influenced courts, and managed the machines of every 
important operation and event, both in the religious and political 

ask Herod where Christ should be bprn : and his wise-men having consulted their boohs, 
answer him at Bethleham. On which, the three kings with their golden crowns, having in 
their hands golden cups filled with frankincense, myrrh, and gold, the star still going before, 
marched to the church of St. Eustorgius, with all their attendants ; preceded by trumpets and 
horns, apes, baboons, and a great variety of animals. In the church, oii one side of the high 
alter, there was a manger with an ox and an ass, and in it the infant Christ, in the arms of 
his mother. Here the three kings offer their gifts, &c. The concourse of the people, of 
knights, ladies, and ecclesiastics, was such as never before was beheld, iJ.c. Rer. Italic. 
Scriptor. torn. xii. col. 2017. D. fol. Mediolan. 1728. Compare p. 149, supr. This feast in 
he ritual is called The feast cf tlie Star. Joan. Episcop. Abrinc. de Oflic. Eccl. p. 30. 

1 Their churches were esteemed more sacred than others. 

S Weav. Fun. Men. p. 3S8. 3 See Baluz. Miscellan. torn. iv. 490, vii. 392. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY, 195 

From what has been here said it is natural to suppose, that the 
mendicants at length became universally odious. The high esteem in 
which they were held, and the transcendent degree of authority which 
they had assumed, only served to render them obnoxious to the 
clergy of every rank, to the monasteries of other orders, and to the 
u-niversities. It was not from ignorance, but from a knowledge of 
mankind, that they were active in propagating superstituous notions, 
which they knew were calculated to captivate the multitude, and to 
strengthen the papal interest ; yet at the same time, from the vanity of 
displaying an uncommon sagacity of thought, and a superior skill in 
theology,they affected novelties in doctrine, which introduced dangerous 
errors, and tended to shake the pillars of orthodoxy. Their ambition 
was unbounded, and their arrogance intolerable. Their increasing 
numbers became, in many states, an enormous and unwieldy burthen 
to the commonwealth. They had abused the powers and privileges 
which had been entrusted to them ; and the common sense of mankind 
could not long be blinded or deluded by the palpable frauds and 
artifices, which these rapacious zealots so notoriously practised for 
enriching their convents. In England, the university of Oxford 
resolutely resisted the perpetual encroachments of the Dominicans^ ; 
and many of our theologists attacked all the four orders with great 
vehemence and severity. Exclusive of the jealousies and animosities 
which naturally subsisted between four rival institutions, their visionary 
refinements, and love of disputation, introduced among them the most 
violent dissensions. The Dominicans aimed at popularity, by an 
obstinate denial of the immaculate conception. Their pretended 
sanctity became at length a tenn of reproach, and their learning feU 
into discredit. As polite letters and general knowledge increased, 
their speculative and pedantic divinity gave way to a more 
liberal turn of thinking, and a more perspicuous mode of writing. 
Bale, who was himself a Carmelite friar, says, that his order, which 
was eminently distinguished for scholastic erudition, began to lose 
their estimation about the year 1460. Some of them were imprudent 
enough to engage openly in political controversy ; and the Augustines 
destroyed all their repute and authority in England by seditious ser- 
mons, in which they laboured to supplant the progeny of Edward IV,, 
and to establish the title of the usurper Richard-. About the 
year 1530, Lcland visited the Franciscan friary at Oxford, big with the 
hopes of finding, in the celebrated library, if not many valuable books, 
at least those which had been bequeathed by the learned bishop 
Grosthcad. The delays and difficulties with which he procured 
admittance into this venerable repositorj^, heightened his curiosity and 
expectations. At length, after much ceremony, being permitted to 

1 Wood, ut supr. i. 150, 154, 196. 2 Newcourt, Report, i 289. 


enter, instead of an inestimable treasure, he saw little more than empty 
shelves covered with cobwebs and dust^. 

After so prolix an introduction, I cannot but give a large quotation 
from our Crede, the humour and tendency of which will now be easily 
understood : and especially as this poem is not only extremely scarce, 
and has almost the rarity of a manuscript, but as it is so curious and 
lively a picture of an order of men who once made so conspicuous a 
figure in the world. 

For first I frayned^ the frercs, and they me full tolden, 
That al the fruyt of the fayth, was in her foure orders, 
And the cofres of Christendom, and the keie bothen 
And the lock of byleve'^, lyeth locken in her hondes 

Then wennede* I to wytte, and with a whight I mette 
A Minoure in amorwetide, and to this man I saide, 
Sir for greate godes love, the graith ^ thou me tell. 
Of what myddel erde man myght I best lerne 
My crede, for I can it nought, my care is the more, 
And therefore for Christes love, thy counseyl I preie, 
A Carme •* me hath ycovenant, ye nede me to teche. 
But for thou knowest Carmes wel, thy counsaile I aske. 

This Minour loked on me, and laughyng he sayde 
Leve christen man, I leve ' that thou madde. 
Whough shuld thei teche the God, that con non hemselve ? 
They ben but jugulers, and japers of kynde, 
Lorels and lechures, and lemans holden, 
Neyther in order ne out but unneth lybbeth^, 
And byjapeth the folk with gestes'-'of Rome. 
It is but a faynt folke, yfounded up on japes, 
They maketh hem Maries men^**, and so thei men tellen. 
And leieth on our lady many a long tale. 
And that wicked folk wymmen betraieth. 
And begileth hem ofher good with glavering wordes. 
And ther^^ with holden her hous in harlotes warkes. 
And so save me God I hold it great synne. 
To gyven hem any good, swiche glotones to fynde 

1 Leb.nd describes this adventure with Kome humour. ' Contigit ut copiam peterem videna 
' bibliothecam Franciscanorum, ad quod obstrcperuiit asiiii aliquot, rudentes nulli prorsus 
' mortalium tam sanctos aditus et recessus adirc, nisi Gardiano et sacris sui collegii baccalariis. 
' Scd ego urgcbam, et principis deplomatc munitus, tantum non coegi ut sacraria ilia aperi- 
' rent. Turn unus e majoribus asinis^uha subrudcns tandem fores aigre reseravit. Summe 

■ ' Jupiter quid ego illic inveni ? Pulvercm autcm inveni, telas arancarum, tineas, blattas, 
' situm deniquc ct squallorem. Inveni etiam et libros, sed quos tribus obolis non emercin. ' 
Scriot. ]!rlt. p. 2S6. 

2 Asked. 3 Belief. 4 Thought. 

5 Truth. 6 Carmelite. 7 Believe. 8 Deceiveth. 9 Legends. 

10 The Carmelites, sometimes called the brethren of the Blessed Virgin, were fond of boasting 
their familiar intercourse with the Virgin Mary. Among other things, they pretended that 
the Virgin assunicd the Carmelite habit and profession ; and that slie appeared 10 Simoji 
Sturckius, general of their order, in the thirteenth centurj', and gave him a solemn promise 
that the souls of those christians who died with the Carmelite scapulary upon their sliouldcrj 
should infallibly escape damnation. 11 Their. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 197 

To maintaine swiche maner men the michel good destruieth 

Yet^ scyn they in her sutiltie, to sottes in townes 

Thci conicn ovit of Carmeli, Christ for to fohven. 

And fcyneth hem with holynesse, the yvcle hem bisemeth. 

Thei lyven more in lecherie, and heth in her tales, 

Than suen- any good hif, but lurkcn in her sclles, 

But wynnen werdhche^ good, and wasten it in synne, 

And gif^ thei couthen^ her crcde other on Christ leveden 

Thei weren nought so hardy, swyche harlotri usen, 

Sikerh I can nought fynden who hem first founded. 

But the foles foundeden hem self freres of the pye, 

And maken hem mendyans, and marre the pule. 

But what glut of the gomes may any good kachen, 

He wil kepcn it hem selfe, and confrene it faste. 

And thoigh his felawes fayle good, for bi he mai sterve 

Her monei mai bi quest, and testament maken 

And none obedience here, but don as hym luste. 

And right as Robartes men raken aboute 

At feyres and at full ales, and fyllen the cuppe^ 

And precheth al of pardon, to plesen the puple, 

But patience is al pased, and put out to ferme 

And pride is in her povertie, that litcU is to preisen 

And at the lullyng of our lady'', the wymmen to lyken 

And miracles of mydw^'ves, and maken wymmen to wenen 

That the lace of our lady smok lighteth hem of children. 

Thei ne prechen nought of PoweP, ne penaunce for synne, 

But al of merci and mensk^, that Marie may helpen. 

With Sterne staves and stronge, thei overlond straketh, 

Thider as here lemans liggeth, a;id lurketh in townes. 

Grey grete hedcd quenes, with gold by the eighcn, 

And seyne that hur sustern thei ben that sojurneth aboute, 

And thus aboutcn the gon and godes folkc betraycth, 

It is the puple that Powel preched of in his tyme. 

He sc)'de of swiche folke that so aboute .wente 

Wepyng, I warne you of walkers aboute, 

It beth enemyes of the cros that Christ upon tholede. 

Swiche slomrcers^'* in slepe slaiighte" is her end. 

1 Say. 2 Follow. 3 Worldly. * IC 5 Knew. 

8 ' Robartes men, or Roberdsmens were a set of lawless vagabonds, notorious for their out- 
rages when Pierce Plowm.'vn v,-as written, that is, about the year 1350. The statute of 
Edward III, [an. reg. 5. c. xiv.j specifies 'divers manslaughters, felonies, and robberies, 
* done by fjeople that be called Roberdesmc7t, Wastours, and drawlatches.' And the statute 
of Richard II. [an. reg 7. c. v.] ordains that the statute of king Edward concerning Roberds- 
tneti and Dravjlatc/ies shall be rigorously observed. Sir Edward Coke [Instit. iii. 197.] 
supposes them to have been originally the followers of Robert Hood in the reign of Richard 
I. See Blackstone's B. iv. ch. 17. Bishop Latimer says, that in a town where he in- 
tended to preach, he could not collect a congegation, because it was Robinhoodcs days. ' 1 
' thought my rochet would have been regarded, though I were not : but it would not serve. 

It was faine to give place to RobntJioodes men.' Sermons, fol. 74, b. This expression is 
not without an allusion to the bad sense of Roberdsmeti. 

"l The CarrnelitCb pretended that their order was originally founded on Mount Carmel 
where Elias lived : and that their first convent was placed there, witliin an ancient church 
dedicated to the Virgin Mary, in the year iiai. 

8 St. Paul. a Mercy. 

10 Slumberers. 11 Sloth. 


And glotonye is her god, with glopping of drink 
And gladnesse in glees, and grete joye ymaked 
In the shending^ of swiche shal mychel folk lauwghe. 
Therfore frend for thy feith fond to don beter, 
Leve nought on tho losels, but let hem forth pasen, 
For thei ben fals in her faith, and feele mo other. 

Alas frere, quath I tho, my purpos is yfailed, 
Now is my comfort a cast, canst ou no bote, 
Wher I might meten with a man that might me wyssen 
For to conne iny crede, Christ for to folwen 

Certeyn felawe, quath the frere, withouten any fayle 
Of al men upon mold" we Minorites most sheweth 
The pure aposteles leif, with penance on erthe. 
And suen^ hem in sanctite, and sufferen wel harde. 
We haunten not tavernes, ne hobelen'* abouten 
At marketes and miracles we medeley us never^. 
We houlden'' no moneye, but moneliche faren'' 
And haven hunger at the mete, at ich a mel ones. 
We haven forsaken the world, and in wo libbeth^ 
In penaunce and poverte, and prechethe the puple® 
By ensample of our liif soules to helpen 
And in poverte prcien, for al oure parteneres 
That gyveth' us any good, God to honouren 
Other bel other book, or bred to our foode, 
Other catel other cloth, to coveren with oure bones^** : 
Mony, other money worth, here mede is in hevene 
For we buildeth a burugh^^, a brod and a large, 
A chirch and a chapitle^", with chaumbers a lofte. 
With wide wyndowes ywroug^t, and walles wel heye 
That mote ben portreid, and "paint and pulched ful clene^^ 
With gay glittering glas, glowing as the sunne, 
And^^ mightestou amcnden us with money of thyne owen, 
Thou shouldest knely before Christ in compas of gold. 
In the wyde window westward wel neigh in the middelP^, 
And saint Franceis him self, shal folde the in his cope. 
And present the to the trinite, and praye for thy synnes. 
Thy name shal noblich be wryte and wrought for the nones 
And in remembraunce of the, praid therfor ever^'', 

i Destroying. " Earth. 3 Follow. 4 Skip. Run. 

6 See supr. p. 2^6. ^ Collect. Hide. Possess. Hoard. 

7 Live like monks, like men dedicated to religion. Or rather, moneyless poor. 

8 Live. '•> People. 

W Either bells, or books, or bread, or cattel, &c. ' In the Liber P.1!NITENTIALIS there is 
this injunction, ' Si monachus per ebrietatem vaim'iiem fecerit, trigiuta dies pceniteat.' 
MSS. Jam. V. 237. Bibl. Bodl. 11 A house. 

12 A chapter-house. Capitidum. ' INIay. Might.' 

13 Painted and beautifully adorned. !■* If you would help us with your money. 

15 Your figure kneeling to Christ shall be painted in the great west window. This was the 
way of representing benefactors in painted glass. See supr. p. 278. 

18 Your name shall be written in our table of benefactors for whose souls we pray. Tiiis was 
usually hung up in the church. Or else he means, Written in the windows, in which manner 
benefactors were frequently recorded. ' Most of the printed copies rca.d jfiraui. Hearne, in 
a quotation of this passage, ymd. GuL. Newbkig. p. 776. He quotes an edition of 
1553. ' Your name shall be richly written in the windows of the church of the monastery! 
' which men will kead there for ever.' This seems to be the true reading. 


And brother be thou nought aferd, bythenkin thyne hert 
Though thou cone^ nought thy credc, care thou no more 
I shai asoilcn- the syr, and setten it on my soulc. 
And thou may maken this good, thcnke thou non other. 

Sir (I sayde) in ccrtaine I shal gon and asaye, 
And he set on me his hond, and asoiled me clene, 
And there I parted him fro, ^vithoutcn any peyne, 
In covenant that I come agayn, Christ he me be taught 

Than saidc I to myself, here semeth Htel treuthe, 
First to blame his brother, and bakbyten hym foule, 
There as curteis Christ clerliche sayde : 
Whow might thou in thy brothers eighe a bare mote loke 
And in thyne owen eighe nought a beme toten, 
See first on thy self, and sithcn on a nother, 
And dense clene thy sight, and kepe wel thyne eighe, 
And for another mannes eighe, ordeyne after 
And also I see coveitise, catel to fongen^, 
That Christ had cleriche forboden* and clenliche destruede 
And sayde to his sueres*, for sothe on this wyse : 
Nought thy neighbours good coveyte in no tyme. 
But charitie and chastite, ben chased out clene, 
But Christ seide by her fruit, men shal hem ful knowen. 
Thannesaide I, certeine syr, thou demest ful trewe. 

Than thought I tofrayne" the first of these foure ordres, 
And presed to the Pi'echoures'', to proven her wille, 
Ich highed* to her house, toherken of more 
And when I came to that court, I gaped about, 
Swich a bild bold ybuld upon erthe heighte, 
Say I nought in certeyn syththe a long tyme^. 
V semcd upon the hous, and yerne^^ thereon loked, 
Whow the pileres vveren ypaint and pulchud^- ful clene, 
And queyntly ycorven, with curious knottes, 
With wyndowes wel ywrought, wyde up aloftc, 
And than I entred in, and even forthe wente. 
And all was walled that wonc^^, though it wild were 
With posternes in privite to passen when hem liste. 
Orcheyardes, and crberes^* eucsed well clene, 
And a curious cros, craftly entayled'% 
With tabernacles ytight to toten"' al abouten. 
The pris of a ploughlond, of penies so rounde. 
To aparaile that pyler, were pure litcl", 
Than I munte me'* forth, the mynstere'^ to knowen. 
And-'-* awaytcd woon, wondcrly wel ybild. 
With arches on everich half, and bellychc-' yeoi-v'cn 

1 Know. - Absolve. 3 Take. Rcceiv-e. 

* Forbidden. 5 Followers. " To ask. 

7 1 hastened to the friars preachers. 8 I went to their monastery. 

9 It is long since I have seen so fine a building. 

'0 Gazed. " Earnestly. ^'^ Polished. 13 House. Habitation. 

I* Arbours. J' Carved. See Spenser, ii. 3, 37, 6, 29. 16 Xo look. 

17 The price of a carucate of land would not raise such osothcr buildin;^. 

U Went I'J Church. 2U I saw one. '■'^ licautifully. 


With crochetes on corneres, with knottes of gold. 
Wyde wyndows ywrought yvvriten ful thiklce^ 
Shynen^ with shapen sheldes, to shewen aboute, 
With^ merkes of merchauntes, ymedeled betwene 
Mo than twentie and two, tvvyse ynoumbbred ; 
Ther is non heraud that hath half swich a rolle* 
Right as a rageman hath rekned him newe 
Tombes upon tabernacles, tylde upon lofte, 
Housed" in homes, harde set abouten'' 
Of armede alabaustre, clad for the nones 
Maad opon marbel in many inanner wyse 
Knyghtes in their conisante'' clad for the nones 

1 With texts, or names. 

2 That is, coats of arms of benefactors painted in the glass. So in an ancient roll in verse, 
exhibiting the descent of the family of the lords of Clare in Suffolk, preserved in the Austin 
friary at Clare, and written in the year 1356. 

• Dame Mault, a lady full honorable, Borne of the Ulsters, as sheweth rj'fe 

Hir amies cfglasse in the eastern gable. — So conjoyned be 

Ulstris arms and Glocestris thurgh and thurgh. 
As shewith our IVyndows in houses thre, 
Dortur, chapiter-house, and fraitour, which she 
Made out the grounde both plancher and wall. 

Dugdale cites this roll, Men. Angl. i. p. 535. As does Weaver, who dates it in 1460. Fun. 
Mon. p. 734. But I could prove this fashion to have been of much higher antiquity. 

' By Merkes of mercho-tintes we are to understand their symbols, cyphers, or badges, drawn 
or painted in the windows Of this passage I have received the following curious 'explication 
from Mr. Cole, rector of Blechley in Bucks, a learned antiquary in the heraldic art. ' Mixed 
' ivith the arms of their founders and benefactors stand also the marks of tradesmen and 
' merchants, -who had no Arms, but used their Marks in a Shield like Arjns. Instances of 
' this sort are very common. In many places in Great Saint Mary's church in Cambridge 
' such a Shield of Mark occurs : the same that is to be seen in the windows of the great 
' shop opposite the Conduit on the Market-hill, and the corner house of the Petty Curry. 
' No doubt, in the reign of Henry VII., the owner of these houses was a benefactor to 
' the building, or glasing Saint Mary's church. I have seen like instances in Bristol cathedral; 
' and the churches at Lynn are full of them ' — In an ancient system of heraldry in the British 
Museum, I find the following illustation, under a shield of this sort. 'Theys be none armys, 
' but as Mark as March.a.unts vse, for every mane may take hyme a Marke, but not armys, 
' without an herawde or purcyvaunte.' MSS. Harl. 2259, 9, fol. no. 

3 .Such a roll. •* Set up on high. ; 

5 Surrounded with iron rails. Horns seems to be irons. ' But perhaps we should read 
HURNES, interpreted, in the short Glossary to the Crede, Caves, that is, in the present 
application, niches, arches. See Gloss. Rob. Glouc. p. 660, i. Hurn, is angle, comer. 
From the Saxon pyjan, Angtiltcs. Chaucer Frankel. T. Urr. p. no, v, 2677. 

Seeking in every halke [nook], and every herne. 
And again, Chan. Yem. Prol. p. 121, v. 679. 

Lurking m hernis and in lanis blind. 
Read the line, thus pointed. 

Housed in hurnes hard set abouten. 

The sense is therefore. 'The tombs were witnm lofty-pinacled tabernacles, and enclosed in 
' a multiplicity of thick-set arches.' }iKKU \s close 01 thick. This conveys no bad idea of a 
Gothic sepulchral shrine. 

6 Placed very close or thick about the church, 

7 In their proper habiliments. In their cognisances, or surcoats of arms. So again. Signal. 
C. ii. b. 

For though a man in her minstre a masse wold heren. 
His fight shall also byset on sondrye workes. 
The pennons and the poinelLs, and pointes of sheldes 
Withdrawen his devotion and dusken his harte. 

"I'hat is, the banners, achievements, and other armorial ornaments, hanging over the 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 201 

Allc it semed seyntes, ysacred opon cithe, 

And lovely ladies ywrought, leyen by her sydes 

In many gay garnemens, that wercn gold betcn, 

Though the tax often yere were trewely gadcred, 

Nolde it nought maken that hous, half as I trowe. 

Than cam I to that cloystre, and gaped abouten, 

Whough it was pilered and peynt, and portreyd well clene 

Alhyled^ with leed, lowe to the stones, 

And ypaved with poynttP, ich point after other 

With cundites of clene tyn closed al aboute^ 

With lavoures of lattin'*, loveliche ygreithed^ 

I trowe the gaynage of the ground, in a gret shyre 

Nold aparaile that place, oo poynt tyl other ende**. 

Thane was the chapitre house wrought as a greet chirch 

Corven and covered, ant queytelche entayled'', 

With scmliche selure yscet on lofte* 

As a parlcment hous ypeynted aboute^. 

1 Covered. 

- Point eti point is a French phrase for in order, exactly. This explains the latter part of 
the line. Or poynttyl may mean tiles in squares or dies, in chequcr-vvork. See Skinner in 
Point, and du Fresne in Punctura. And then ich Point after otiierwiW be one square 
after another. So late as the reign of Henrj- VIII., so magnificent a structure as the refec- 
tory of Christ-church at Oxford was, at its first building, paved with green and yellow tiles. 
The whole number was 3600, an(l each 100 cost three shillings and sixpence. MSS. Br. 
Twyne, Archiv, Oxon. 8 p. 352. Wolsey's great hall at Hampton Court, evidently built in 
everj- respect on the model of this at Christ-church, was very probably paved in the same 
manner. See Observat. on Spens. 

3 Spouts. Or channels for conveying the water in the Lavatory, which was usually placed 
in the cloyster. 

^ Laten, a metal so called. 5 Prepared. Adorned. 

6 From one end to the other. 

7 The chapter-house was magnificently constructed in the style of church architecture, 
finely vaulted, and richly carved. 

8 A seemly ceiling, or roof, very lofty. 

9 That they painted the walls of rooms, before tapestry hecame fashionable, I have before 
given instances. Observat. Spens. I will here add other proofs. In an old French romance 
on the Miracles of the Virgin, liv. i. Carpent. Suppl. Lat. Gl. Du Cang. V. La.mbroissare. 

Lors moustiers tiennent ors et sals, Et lor cambres, et lor grans sales, 

Font lambroissier, paindre et pourtraire. 

Gervasius Dorobemensis, in his account of the burning of Canterbury Cathedral in the year 
1 174, says, ''lat not only the beam- work was destroyed, but the ceiling underneath it, or con- 
cameration trailed caelum, being of wood beautifully painted, was also consumed. 'Coelum 
' inferius egregie depiction, &c.' p. 1289. Dec. Script. Lond. 1652. And Stubbes, Actus Pontif. 
Eboraccnsiiivt, says, that archbishop Aldred, about 1060, built the whole church of York from 
the Presbytery to the Tower, and 'superius opcre picturio quod Ccjelum vocant aiiro inulti- 
'formiter intcnttixto, mirabili arte constnixit.' p. 1704. Dec. Script, ut supr. There are 
many instances in the pipe-rolls, not yet printed. The roof of the church of Cassino in Italy, 
is ordered to be painted in 1349, like that of .St. John I.^tcran at Rome. Hist. Cassin. torn. li. 
p. 545. col. I. Dugdale has printed an ancient French record, by which it appears.^that there 
was a hall in the castle of Dover called Arthur's liall, and a chamber called 'CfWirKrrt'i 
cluitnber. Monast. ii. 2. I suppose, because the walls of these ajjartments were respectively 
adorned with paintingsof each. Gcneura is Arthur's c]ueen. In the pipe-rolls of Henry III, 
we have this notice, a.d. 1259. 'Infra portam castri et birbecanam, etc. ab exitu CameRvE 
RosA.MUND/E usque capellam .sancti Thoma; in Castro Wynton.' Rot. Pip. Hcnr. iii. an. 43. 
This I once supposed to be a chamber in Winchester castle, so called it was painted 
with the figure or some history of fair Rosamond. But a Rosamund-chamhkr was a com- 
mon apartment in the royal castles, perhaps in imitation of her dower at Woodstock, literally 
nothing more than a chamber, which yet was curiously constructed and decorated, at least in 
memory of it. The old prose i)arai)hrast of the chronicle of Robert of Glocester says 
' CoLi:ES hadde the Rosamonde a bout in Engelonde, which this kynge [Hen. ii.] for his sake 
' m%(le ; atte Waltham bishope's, in the costelle of Wynclicster, atte park of Frcmantci, atta 


Thanne ferd I into fraytoure^, and fond there a nother, 
An halle for an hygh kynge, an household to holden, 
With brod hordes abouten, ybenched wel clone, 
With wyndowes of glass, wrought as a chirche^ 
Than walkede I ferrer^, and went al abouten 
And seigh' halles ful heygh, and houses ful noble, 
Chambres with chjTnneys, and chapels gaye. 
And kychenes for an high kynge, in castels to holden, 
And her dortoure^ ydight, with dores ful stronge 
Fermerye and fraitur*^, with fele mo houses'^ 
And al strong ston wal sterne opon heithe 
With gaye garites, and grete, and iche hole glased. 
And other houses ynowe, to hereberwe the queene^, 
And yet these bilderes wiln beggen a bagge ful of whete 
Of a pure pore man, that may onethe^ paye 
Half his rent in a yere, and half ben byhynde. 

Than turned I apen whan I hadde al ytoted^** 
And fond in a freitoure a frere on a benche, 
A greet chorl and a grym, growen as a tonne, 
With a face so fat, as a ful bleddere^^, 
Blowen bretful of breth, and as a bagge honged. 
On bothen his chekes, and his chyn, with a chol loUede 
So greet a gos ey, growen al of grece. 
That al wagged his fleish, as a quick mire^^, 
His cope that^^ biclypped him, wel clene was it folden 
Of double worstede ydyght, doun to the hele. 
His kyrtel of clene whiit, clenlyche ysewed 
Hit was good ynow of ground, greyn for to baren. 
I haylsede that thirdman, and hendliche I sayde, 
Gode sire for godes love, canst on me graith tellen, 
To any wortheley wiight, that wissen me couthe, 
Whom I shuld conne my crede, Christ for to folwe. 
That lenede lilliche^* hym selfe, and lyved thcr after, 
That seynede no falshede, but fully Christ suwede, 
Forsith a certeyn inan syker wold I trosten 
That he wold tell me the trewth, and turn to none other. 
And an Austyn this ender day, egged^^ me faste 
That he wold, techen me wel, he plyght me his treuthe 
And seyde me certeyn, sightcn Christ dcyed 
Oure ordre was evels, and erst yfounde 

' Marteleston, atte Woodestoke, and other fele [many] places.' Chron. edit. Hcarp*. -> 
This passage indeed seems to imply, that Henry the second himself provided for his fair . i 
cubine a bower or chamber of peculiar construction, not only at Woodstock, but in all ih^' 
royal palaces ; which, as may be concluded from the pipe-roll just cited, wa.s called by her 
name. Leland says, that in the stately castle of Pickering in Yoikshire, ' in the first court be 
'a foure Toures, of the which one is cauUid Rosaiiinndes Tpiire.' Itin. fol. 71. Probably 
because it contained one of these bowers or chambers. Or, perhaps we should read RoSA- 
MUiVDES BouRE. Compare Walpole's Anecd. Paint, i. p. lo. 11. 

I Fratry. 2 X series of stately gothic windows. 

3 Further. ''Saw. 8 Dormitory. 6 Infirmary, &c. 

7 Many other apartments. 8 To lodge the queen. 

" Scarcely. I'' Observed. 

II Bladder. 12 Quag-mire. 13 Covered. 
1-1 Truly. 15 Moved. 


First felawe quath he, fy on his pylthe 
He is but abortiif, eked with cloutes 
He holdcth his ordinaunce with hores and theves, 
And purchascth hem privileges, with penyes so roundc. 
It is a pure pardoners craft, prove and asay 
For have they thy money, a moncth therafter 
Certes theigh thou come agen, he wil ye nought knowen. 
But felawe our foundement was first of the other 
And we ben founded fulliche, withouten fayntise 
And we ben clerkes renowcn, cunning in schole 
Proued in procession by processe of lawe. 
Of oure order ther beth bichopes wcl manye 
Seyntes on sundry' stcdcs, that suffreden harde 
And we ben proved the priis of popes at Rome 
And of grettest degre, as gospelles tclleth. 

I must not quit our Ploughman without observing, that some other 
satirical pieces anterior to the Reformation, bear the adopted name of 
Piers the Plowman. Under the character of a plowman the 
religious are likewise lashed, in a poem written in appai'ent imitation of 
Longland's Vision, and attributed to Chaucer. I mean the Plow- 
man's Tale^. The measure is different, and it is in rhyme. But it has 
Longland's alliteration of initials : as if his example had, as it were, 
appropriated that mode of versification to the subject, and the supposed 
character which supports the satire^. All these poems were, for the 
most part, founded on the doctrines newly broached by WickliftV : who 

1 Perhaps falsely. Unless Chaucer wrote the Crede, which I cannot believe. For in 
Chaucer's Plowman's Tale this Crede is alluded to. v. 3005. 

And of Freris I have before Told in amaking of a Crede; 

And yet I could tell worse and more. 

This passage at least brings the Plowman's Tale below the Crede in time. But some have 
thought, very improbably, that this Crede is Jack Upland. 

■^ It is extraordinary', that we should find in this poem one of the absurd arguments of the 
puritans against ecclesiastical establishments, v. 2253. Urr. edit. 

For Christ made no cathedralls, Ne with him was no Cardinalls. 

But see what follows, concerning WicklifTe. 

J* It is remarkable, that ihcy touch on the very topics which WicklifTe had just published in 
his Objections on Freres charging xham. wvCa fifty Jieresks. As in the following. 'Also 
' Freres buildin many great churches, and costy wast houses and cloisteres, as it wern castels, 
'and that withouten nede, &c.' Lewis's Wickliff, p. 22. I will here add a passage from 
Wickliffe's tract entitled Why poor Priests have no Benefices. Lewis, App. Num. xix.p. 
289. 'And yet they [lords] wolen not present a clerk able of kunning of god's law, but a 
' kitchen clerk, or a penny clerk, or luise in building castles or worldly doing, though he 
'kunne not reade well his sauter, &c.' Here is a manifest piece of Satire on Wykeham, 
bishop of Winchester, \yickliffL's contemporary ; who is supposed to have rccommeded himself 
to Edward III. by rebuilding the castle of Windsor. This was a recent and notorious instance. 
But in this apfjointment the king probably paid a compliment to that prelate's .singular talents 
for business, his acti\ity, circumspection, and management, rather than to any scientific and 
professed skill in architecture, which he might have po.ssessed. It seems to me that he was 
only a su]>ervisor or comptroller on this occasion. It was common to deimte churchmen to this 
department, from an idea of their superior prudence and prubity. Thus John, the prior of St. 
Swithin's at Winchester in 1280, is conimi^slimcd by brief from the king, to supervise large re- 
pairs done by the shcrilT in the castle of Winchester, and the royal manor of Wolmcr. MSS. 
Kcgistr. Priorat. Ouat. 19. fol. 3. The bishop of S. David's was master of tlie works at 
building King's College. Hcamc's £lmh. p. 353. Alcock, bishop of Ely, was comptroller of 


maintained, among other things, that the clergy should not possess 
estates, that the ecclesiastical ceremonies obstructed true devotion, and 
that mendicant friars, the particular object of our Plowman's Crede, 
were a public and insupportable grievance. But Wickliffe, whom Mr. 
Hume pronounces to have been an enthusiast, like many other re- 
formers, carried his idea of purity too far ; and, at least it appears from 
the two first of these opinions, under the design of destroying supersti- 
tion, his undistinguishing zeal attacked even the necessary aids of 
religion. It was certainly a lucky circumstance that Wickliffe quar- 
relled with the pope. His attacks on superstition at first probably pro- 
ceeded from resentment. Wickliffe, who was professor of divinity at 
Oxford, finding on many occasions not only his own province invaded, 
but even the privileges of the university frequently violated by the pre- 
tensions of the mendicants, gratified his warmth by throwing out some 
slight censures against all the four orders, and the popes their prin- 
cipal patrons and abettors. Soon afterwards he was deprived of the 
wardenship of Canterbury hall, by the archbishop of Canterbury, who 
substituted a monk in his place. Upon this he appealed to the pope, 
who confiniied the archiepiscopal sentence, by way of rebuke for the 
freedom with which he had treated the monastic profession. Wick- 
liffe, highly exasperated at this usage, immediately gave a loose to his 
indignation, and without restraint or distinction attacked in numerous 
sermons and treatises, not only the scandalous enormities of the 
whole body of monks, but even the usurpations of the pontifical power 
itself, with other ecclesiastical corruptions. Having exposed these 
palpable abuses with a just abhorrence, he ventured still farther, and 
proceeded to examine and refute with great learning and penetration 
the absurd doctrines which prevailed in the religious system of his age : 
he not only exhorted the laity to study the scriptures, but translated 
the bible into English for general use and popular inspection. What- 
ever were his motives, it is certain that these efforts enlarged the 
notions of mankind, and sowed those seeds of a revolution in religionj 
which were quickened at length and brought to maturity by a favourable 
coincidence of circumstances, in an age when the increasing growth of 
literature and curiosity naturally led the way to innovation and improve- 
ment. Butavisiblediminutionof the authority of the ecclesiastics, in Eng- 
land at least, had been long growing from other causes. The disgust 
which the laity had contracted from the numerous and arbitrary en- 
croachments both of the court of Rome, and of their own clergy, had 
greatly weaned the kingdom from superstition ; and conspicuous symp- 
toms had appeared, on various occasions, of a general desire to shake 
off the intolerable bondage of papal oppression. 

the royal buildings under Henry VII. Parker Hist. Cambr. p. 119. He like Y\^ykeham, was 
a great buiidcr, but not therefore an architect. Richard Williams, dean of Litchfield, and 
chaplain to Henry VIII., bore the same office. MSB. Wood, Litchfield. D. 7. Ashmol. 
Nicholos Townley clerk, was master of the works at Cardinal College. MSS. Twyue, 8. £ 
351. WdJpole, i. Anecd. Paint, p. 40. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 20, 

S E C T I O N X. 

Longland'S peculiarity of style and versification, seems to have had 
many cotcmporary imitators. One of these is a nameless author on 
the fashionable history of Alexander the Great : and his poem on this 
subject is inserted at the end of the beautiful Bodleian copy of the 
French Roman d'Alexandre, before mentioned, with this referenced 
' Here faylcth a prossesse of this romaunce of Alixaunder the whiche 
' prossesse that fayleth ye schuUe fynde at the ende of thys boke 
' >'^vrete in Engeliche r)'me.' It is imperfect, and begins and proceeds 

How Alexoj^der partyd thenny^. 

When this weith at his wil wedinge 

Hadde, fful rathe rommede he rydinge 

Thedince so ondrace with his oft 

Alixandre wendeth there wilde contra 

Was wist and wonderfull peple 

That weren proved ful proude, and prys of hevi helde 

Of bodi went thei thare withoute any wede 

And had grave on the ground many grete cavys 

There here wonnynge was wynturus and somerus 

No syte nor no sur stede sothli thei ne hadde 

But holus holwe in the groundc to hide hem inne 

Now is that name to mene the nakid wise 

Wan the kiddeste of the cavus that was kinge holdc 

Hurde tydinge telle and loknynge wiste 

That Alixaundre with his ost at lede thidince 

To beholden of hom hure heizcst prince 

Than waies of worshipe wittie and quainte 

With his lettres he let to the lud sende 

1 P. 240. It is in a different hand yet with Saxon characters. It has minaturcs in water 

- There is a poem in the Ashmolean museum, complete in the former part, which I believe 
is the same. MSS. Ashm. 44. It has 27 passus, and begins thus: 

Whener folk fasted and fed, fayne wolde thei her 
Some farand thing, &c. 

3 At the end are these rubrics, with void spaces, intended to be filled. 

' How Alexandre remewid to a flood that is called Phison.' 

' How kini; Duidirniis sent letters to king Alexandre." 

' How r)Midimus endilid to Alcxaundre of here Icvyng.' 

' J Iav he ^pnr'jth not Alexandre to telle hyni of hys governance.' 

' 1 1 Av hi; I'll'.'.li Alexandre of his maumctrle.' 

' ilijw Alt:.\anUre scntc aunswere to Duidimus by lettres.' 

' How iJiiiUimus scndyd an answcre to Alexandre by leiire.' 

' How Alexandre scnte Duidimus another lettre.' 

' How Alexandre pighc a pclyr of marbyl thcr,' 


Thanne soulhtc thei sone the foresaide prynce 

And to the schamlese schalk schewen hur lettres 

Than rathe let the .... reden the sonde 

That newe tythinge is tolde in this wise 

The gentil^ Geneosophistians that gode were of witte 

To the emperour Ahxandre here aunsweris wretcn 

This is worschip of word worthi to have 

And in conquerer kid in contres manie 

Us is sertefyed seg as we soth heren 

That thou hast ment with the man among us ferre 

But yf thou kyng to us come with Caere to figte 

Of us getist thou no good gome we the warne 

For what richesse ... us might you us- bi reve 

Whan no wordUche wele is with us founde 

We ben sengle of us silfe and semen ful bare 

Nouht welde we nowe but naked we wende 

And that we happih her haven of kynde 

May no man but god make us fine 

Thei thou fonde with thi folke to fighte us alle 

We schulle us kepe on caugt our cavns withinne 

Nevere werred we with wigth upon erthe 

For we ben hid in oure hoHs or we harme laache hadde 

Thus saide sothh the loude that thi sente 

And al so cof as the king kende the sawe 

New lettres he let the . . . . bi take 

And with his sawes of soth he hem alle 

That he wolde faire with his folke in a faire wise 

To bi holden here home and non harme wurke 

So heth the king with hem sente and sithen with his peplc 

cosli til hem to kenne of hure fare 

But whan thai sieu the seg with so manye ryde 
Thei war a grison of his grym and wende gref tholie 
Ffast heiede thei to holis and hidden there 
And in the cavus hem kept from the king sterne, Sic. 

Another piece, written in Longland's manner, is entitled, The 
Warres of the Jewes. This was a favourite subject, as I have be- 
fore observed, drawn from the Latin historical romance, which passes 
under the name of Hegesippus de Excidio Hierusalem. 

In Tyberyus tyme the trewe emperour 
Syr Sesar hym sulf saysed in Rome 
Whyle Pylot was provQst under that prynce ryche 
And sewen justice also in Judeus londis 
Herodcs under his empire as heritage wolde 
King of Galile was ycallid whan that Crist dcyad 
They Sesar sakles wer that oft syn hatide 
Throw Pilot pyned he was and put on the rode 
A pyler pygt was don upon the playne erthe 
His body bouden therto beten with scourgis 

1 Gymnosophists. 


Whippcs of quyrbole by went his white sides 

Til he al on rede blode ran as rayn on the strcte 

Such stockyd hym an a stole with styf menes hondis 

Elyndfellcd' hym as a be and boffctis hym ragte 

Zif you be a prophcte of pris prophecie they sayde 

Which man her aboute boiled the laste 

A thrange thorn crown was thraste on his hcd 

. . . casten hym with a cry and on a cros slowen 

Ffor al the harme that he had hasted he nogt 

On h)Tn the vyleny to venge that hys venys brosten 

Bot ay taried on the tyme gif they tone wolde 

Gaf he space that him spilede they he speede lyte 

Yf aynt was as yfynde and no fewer^, &c. 

Notwithstanding what has been supposed above, it is not quite cer- 
tain, that Longland was the first who led the way in this singular species 
of versification. His Vision was written on a popular subject, and is 
the only poem, composed in this capricious sort of metre, which has 
been printed. It is easy to conceive how these circumstances contri- 
buted to give him the merit of an inventor on this occasion. 

The ingenious doctor Percy has exhibited specimens of two or three 
other poems belonging to this class^. One of these is entitled. Death 
AND Life : it consists of 229 lines, and is divided into two parts or 
Fitts. It begins thus : 

Christ christen king that on the cross tholcd, 
Hadde paines and passyons to defend our soules ; 
Give us grace on the ground the greatlye to serve 
For that royaU red blood that rann from thy side. 

The subject of this piece is a Vision, containing a contest for superi- 
ority between Our lady Dame Life, and the Jtgly fiend Dame Death : 
who with their several attributes and concomitants are personified in a 
beautiful vein of allegorical painting. Dame Life is thus forcibly 

Shee was brighter of her blee than was the bright sonn: 
Her rud redder than the rose that on the rise hangeth : 
Meekely smiling with her mouth, and merry in her lookes ; 
Ever laughing for love, as shcc like would : 
And as she came by the bankes the boughes cche one 
They lowted to that ladye and layd forth their branches ; 
Llossomes and burgens breathed full sweete, 

1 Laud. ... 22. MSS. Bibl. nodi. Ad rale. ' Hie tractatur bellum Judaiciim apud 
'Jcnisalcm.' f. 19, b. It is also in Brit. Miis. Cott. MS.S. Caliu. A. i. fol. 109. — 123. 
Gyraldus Cambrensis says, that the Welsh and English use alliteration, 'in omni scrnioiie 
'exquisitio.' iJescript. Cambr. eap. xi. p. 889.. O'Flahcrty also .says of the Irish, ' Non 
' parva; est apud nos in orationc clegantia; schema, quod Paroinajon, i.e. Assitiiile, dXcwwrx 
'quoties multx dictiones, ab eadem litcra ineipientcs, ex ordine colloeantur' Ogyg. part. iiL 
30, p. 2.J2 Percy's judicious Essay on ihe Metke or Pikkck's Visio.ns. 

* Essay on the Mctr. of P. P. Vis. p. 8. seq. 


Flowers flourished in the frith Avhere she forth stepped, 
And the grasse that was gray grened behve. 

The figure of Death follows, which is equally bold and expressive. 
Another piece of this kind, also quoted by doctor Percy, is entitled, 
Chevelere Assigne, or De Cigne, that is, the Kni^hi of the Simn. 
This is a romance which is extant in a prose translation from the 
French, among Mr. Garrick's noble collection of old plays^. We must 
not forget, that among the royal manuscripts in the British Museum, 
there is a French metrical romance on this subject, entitled, L'YSTOlRE 
Dtf chevalier au Signe^. Our English poem begins thus^ : 

All-weldynge god, whence it is his wylle, 
Wele he wereth his werke with his owene honde, 
For oftc harmes were hente that help wene mygte 
Nere the hygnes of hem that lengeth in hevene 
For this, &c. 

This alliterative measure, unaccompanied with ryhme, and including 
many peculiar Saxon idioms appropriated to poetry, remained in use 
so low as the sixteenth centuay. In doctor Percy's A)icient Ballads, 
there is one of this class called The Scottish Feilde, containing a 
very circumstantial narrative of the battle of Flodden fought in the 
year 15 13. 

In some of the earliest of our specimens of old English poetrj', we 
have long ago seen that alliteration was esteemed a fashionable and 
favourite ornament of verse. For the sake of throwing the subject 
into one view, and further illustrating what has been here said concern- 
ing it, I chuse to cite in this place a very ancient hymn to the Virgin 
Mary, never printed, where this affectation professedly predominates*. 

I, Hail beo yow^ Marie, moodur and may, 
Mylde, and meke, and merciable : 
Heyl folliche fruit of sothfast fay, 
Agayn vche stryf studefast and stable .' 
Heil sothfast soul in vche a say, 
Undur the son is non so able. 
Heil logge that vr lord in lay. 
The formast that never was foundcn in fable, 

1 K. vol. 10. 'Imprinted at London by me Wj'IIiam Copland.' There is an edition on 
parchment by W. de \Vorde, 1512, ' Newly translated out of Frenshe into Englyshe at thin- 
' stigacion of the puyssaunt prynce lorde Edward duke of Buckynghamc.' Here I understand 
French prose. 

2 15 E. vi. 9 fol. And in the Royal library at Paris, MSS. 7192, ' Le Roman du 4;hevaher 
au eigne en vers.' Montf. Cat. MSS. ii. p. 789. 

3 See MSS. Cott. Calig. A. i. f. 109, 123. 

4 Among the Cotton MSS. there is a Norman Saxon alliterative hymn to the Virgin ISIary. 
Ner. a. xiv. fol. 240, cod. membran. 8vo. ' On 506 urcisun to ure lesdi.' That is, .^ good- 
prayer to our lady. 

Crir^er miltie mofcer \e:^T% Marie Minej- hue-j- Iconic, mi leoue lefbi. 

5 See some pageant-poetry, full of alliteration, written in the reign of Henry VII., Leland, 
Coll. iii. App. 180, edit. 1770. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 209 

Heil trewe, trouthfull, and tretable, 

Heil cheef i chosen of chastite, 

Heil homely, hende, and amyable 

To preye for us to thi sane so/re / Ave. 

II. Heil stem, that never stinteth liht : 

Heil bush, brennyng that never was brent ; 

Heil rihtful rulere of evcri riht, 

Schadewe to schilde that scholde be schent, 

Heil, blessed be yowe blosmc briht. 

To trouthe and trust was thine entent ; 

Heil mayden and modur, most of miht, 

Of all mischeves and amendement ; 

Heil spice sprong that never was spent, 

Heil trone of the trinitie ; 

Heil soiene"^ that god us sone to sent 

Yome preye for us thi sone fre ! AVE. 

HI. Heyl hertely in holinesse. 

Heyl hope of help to heighe and lowe 
Heyl strength and stelof stabylnesse Heyl windovve of hevene wowe 
Heyl reson of rihtwysnesse, Tovchea caityf comfort to knowc, 

Heyl innocent of angernesse, Vr takel, vr tol, that we ontrowe, 

Heyl frend to all that beoth fortth flowe 

Heyl liht of love, and of bewte, 

Heyl brihter then the blod on snowe, 

Yowe preye for us thi sone so fre .' AVE 

IV. Heyl mayden, heyl modur, heyl martir trowe, 

Heyl kyndly i knowe confessour, 

Heyl evenerc of old lawe and newe, 

Heyl buildor bold of cristes bour, 
Heyl rose higest of hyde and hewe, Of all ffruytes fcircst fflour, 
Heyl turtell trustiest and trewe. Of all trouthe thou are tresour, 

Heyl puyred princesse of paramour, 

Heylblosme of brere brihtest of ble, 

Heyl owner of corthly honour, 

Yowe pj-eye for us thi sone so fre / Ave, &c. 

V. Heyl hende, heyl holy emperesse, 

Hcyle qucenc cortcois, comely, and kyndc, 
?Ieyl distruyere of everi strisse, 
Heyl mender of everi monnes myndc, 
Heil bodi tliat we ouht to blesse, 
So feythful frend may never mon fynde, 
Heil levere and lovere of largencssc 
Swete and swetest that never may swyndc, 
Heil botenerc of everic bodi blynde, Heil borgun brihtcs of all bounte 
Heyl trcworc then the wode byndc, 
Yovj Preye for us thi sone so fre / AVE. 

1 F. Seycn. Scyon. 



VI. Heyl modur, lieyl mayden, heyl hevcne quene, 
Heyl gatus of paradys, 
Heyl sterre of the se that ever is sene, 
Heyl rich, royall, and r}'ht\vys, 
Heyl burde i blessed mote yowe bene, 
Heyl pcrle of al perey the pris, 
Heyl schadewe in vche a schour schene, 
Heyl fairer thae that flour de lys, 
Heyl cher chofeen that never nas chis 
Heyl chef chamber of charite 
Heyl in wo that ever was wis 
Yowe prey e for us thi sane so/re / Ave, &c. &c^ 

These rtide stanzas remind us of the Greek hymns ascribed to Orpheus, 
which entirely consist of a cluster of the appellations appropriated to 
each divinity. 


Although this work Is professedly confined to England, yet I cannot 
pass over two Scotch poets of this period, who have adorned the 
English language by a strain of versification, expression, and poetical 
imagery, far superior to their age ; and who consequently deserve to 
be mentioned in a general review of the progress of our national poetry. 
They have written two heroic poems. One of them is John Barbour 
archdeacon of Aberdeen. He was educated at Oxford ; and Rymer 
has printed an instioiment for his safe passage into England in order 
to prosecute his studies in that university, in the years 1357 and 
1365^. David Bruce, king of Scotland, gave him a pension for life, 
as a reward for his poem called the History OF Robert Bruce, 
KING OF the Scots^. It was printed at Glasgow in the year 1671*, 
A battle fought by lord Douglas is thus described. 

When that thus thir two battles were Assembled, as I said j'ou air, 
The Stewart Walter that then was And the good lord als of Dowglas, 
In a battle when that they saw The earl, foroutten dread or aw, 

Assemble with his company • On all that folk so sturdily, 

For to help him they held their way, 

And their battle with good array, 
Beside the carl a little by They sembled all so hardily, 

1 MSS. Vcmon, f. 122. In this manuscript are several other pieces of this sort. 'The 
Holy Virgin appears to a priest who often sung to her, and calls him her joculator.' MSS. 

James, jcxvi. p. 33. 

2 Feed. vi. 31, 478. 3 Tanner, Bibl. p. 73. * i2mo. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 211 

That their foes felt thcr coming well; 

For with weapons stalhvort of steel 

They dang on them with all their might, 

Their foes received well, I hcght, 

With swords and spears, and als with mass, 

The battle there so fellon was 
/Vnd so right great spilling of blood, That on the erd the slouces stood. 

The Scottish men so well them bare. 

And so great slaughter made they there, 

And fra so fell the lives they reav'd, 

That all the field was bloody leav'd. 

That time that thir three battles were 

All side by side fighting well near, 

There might men hear many a dint. 

And weapons upon arms stint, 

And might see tumble knights and steeds, 

And many rich and royal weeds 

Foully defiled under feet. 

Some held on loft, some tint the suet. 

A long while fighting thus they were, 

That men in no wise might hear there. 

Men might hear nought but groans and dints 

That Hew, as men strike fire on flints. 

They fought ilk ane so eagerly. 

That they made neither noise nor cry 

But dang on other at their might 

With weapons that were burnisht bright 

The arrows also thick there flaw, 

( That they well might say, that them saw) 
That they a hideous shov/ercan ma ; For where they fell, I underta, 

They left after them tokening. 

That shall need, as I trow, leeching. 

The English archers shot so fast. 

That might their shot have any last. 

It had been hard to Scottishmen. 

But king Robert, that wel can ken, 

That their archers were perillous, 

And their shot right hard and grievous, 

Ordained forouth the assembly, 

His marshal, with a great menzie, 

Five hundred armed into Steele 

That on light horse were horsed well, 

For to prick amongst the archers. 

And to assail them with their spears, 

That they no leisure have to shoot. 

This marshal that I hereof mute, 
Sir Robert of Keith he was call'd And I before here have you tould. 
When that he saw the battles so Assemble, and together' go. 
And saw the archers shoot stoutly With all them of his company, 
In hy upon them can he ride, And overtake them at a side,' ' 

And rush'd among them so rudely. Sticking them so dcspiteously, 


And in lik fusion bearing down, And slaying them forout ransoun, 

That they them skailed e'erilkane ; 

And, fra that time forth, there was nane 

That assembled, shot for to ma. 

When Scots archers saw that they sa 
Reboted were, they wax'd hardy. And with their might shot eagerly 

Among the horsemen that there rade. 

And wounds wide to them they made. 
And slew of them a full gi'eat deal. They bore them hardily and well ; 
For fra that their foes archers were Skailed, as I said to you air, 

They more than they were by great thing, 

So that they dread not their shooting. 

They wax'd so hardy, that them thought, 

They should set all their foes at nought. 

The following is a specimen of our author'^ talent at rural descrip- 
tion. The verses are extremely soft. 

This was in midst of month of May, When birds sing in ilka spray, 

Melland their notes with seemly soun. For softness of the sweet seasoun. 

And leaves of the branches spreeds, 

And blooms bright beside them breeds, 

And fields strawed are with flowers Well savouring of seir colours, 

And all thing worthis, blyth and gay. 

The other wrote a poem on the exploits of Sir William Wallace. It 
was first printed in 1601. And very lately reprinted at Edinburgh in 
quarto, with the following title. ' The acts and deeds of the most 
' famous and valiant champion Sir William Wallace, knight, of 
'Ellerslie. Written by Blind Harry, in the year 1361. Together 
* with Arnaldi Blair Relationes. Edinburgh, 1758.' No circum- 
stances of the life of our blind bard appear in Dempster^. This poem, 
which consists of twelve books, is translated from the Latin of Robert 
Blare, or Blair, chaplain to Sir William Wallace^. The following is a 
description of the morning, and of Wallace arming himself in his tent^. 

Into a vale by a small river tair. 
On either side where wild deer made repair. 
Set watches out that wisely could them keep, 
To supper went, and timcously they sleep, 

1 See Dempst. viii. 349, 662. 

2 Tit. Gksta Win.ELMi Wallas. Dempst. ii. 148. He flourished in 1300. He has left 
another Latin poem, De i.iberata tyrannide Scotia. Arnald Blair, mentioned in the title 
page in the text, probably Robert's brothsr, if not the same, was also chaplain to Wallace, 
and monk of Dumferling, about the year 1327. Relat. ut supr. p. i. But see p. 9, 10. In 
the fifth book of the Scotch poem we have this passage, p. 94, v. 533. 

Maister John Blair was oft in that message, 

A worthy clerk, both wise and als right sage, 

Levyt he was before in Paris town, &c. 
He was the man that principell undertook. That first compild in dyte the Latin book. 

Of Wallace life right famous in rensown, And Thomas Guay parson of Libertoun, 

With him they were and put in story all Oft one or both mickle of his travell, S:i:. 

'<* P. 229, P. viii. V. 65. The editor seems to have modernised the spelling. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 213 

Of meat and sleep they cease with suffisaunce, 

The night was mirk, overdravc the darksom chance, 

The mcny day sprang from the orient, 

With beams bright ihuminate Occident, 

After Titan Phcbus upriseth fair, 

High in the sphere, the signs he made declare. 

Zephyrus then began his morning course. 

The sweet vapour thus from the ground resourse ; 

The humble bregth down from the heaven avail 

In ever>' mead, both frith, forest and dale. 

The clear rede among the rockis rang 

Through grene branches where the byrds blythly sang, 

With joyous voice in heavenly harmony, 

When Wallace thought it was no time to ly : 

He crossyd him, syn suddenly arose, 

To take the air out of his pallion goes 

Maister John Blair was ready to revess, 

In goode intent syne bouned to the mass. 

When it was done, Wallace can him array, 

In his armore, which goodly was and gay ; 

His shining shoes that birnisht was ful been, 

His leg-harness he clapped on so clean, 

Pullane grees he braced on full fast, 

A close birniewith many siker clasp, 

Breast-plate, brasars, that worthy were in wear : 

Beside him forth Jop could his basnet bear ; 

His glittering gloves that graven on either sid 

He seemed well in battell to abide. 

His good girdle, and syne his buirly brand, 

A stafte of steel he gripped in his hand. 

The host him blest, &c. 

Adam Wallaice and Boyd forth with him yeed 

By a river, throughout a florisht mead. 

And as they walk attour the fields so green. 

Out of the south they saw when that the queen 

Toward the host came riding soberly, 

And fifty ladies in her company, &c. 

The four following lines on the spring arc uncommonly terse and 

Gentle Jupiter, with his mild ordinance. 
Both herb and tree reverts into plcasance ; 
And fresh Flora her flowery mantle spread. 
In every dale both hop, hight, hill, and mead^ 

A different season of the year is here strongly painted. 

The dark region appearing wonder fast, 
In November when October was past, 

^ Lib. be. V. 22, ch. i, p. 250. 


The day failed through right course worthit short, 
To banisht man that is no great comfort : 
With their power in paths worthis gang, 
Heavy they think when that the night is lang. 
Thus good Wallace saw the night's messenger ; 
Phebus had lost his fiery beams so clear : 
Out of the wood thei durst not tuni that side 
For adversours that in their way would hide\ 

The battle of Black-Earnside, shews our author a master in another 
style of painting. 

Kerlie beheld unto the bold hcroun, 
Upon Fawdoun as he was looking dowh, 
A subtil stroke upward him took that tide 
Under the cheeks the grounden sword gart glide, 
By the mail good, both halse and his craig-bane 
In sunder strake ; thus ended that chiftain. 
To ground he fell, fell folk about him throng, 
Treason, they cry'd, traitors are us among. 
Kerlie, with that, fled out soon at a side, 
His fellow Steven then thought no time to bide. 
The fray was great, and fast away they yeed, 
Both toward Em ; thus scaped they that dread. 
Butler for wo of weeping might not stint. 
Thus raklesly this good knight have they tint. 
They deemed all that it was W^allace men, 
Or else himself, though they could not him ken ; 
He is right near, we shall him have but fail, 
This feeble wood may little him avail. 
Forty there past again to Saint Johnstoun, 
With this dead corps, to burying made it bown. 
Parted their men, syne divers ways they rode, 
A great power at Doplin still there bode. 
To Dalwryeth the Butler past but let, 
At sundry fords the gate they unbeset, 
To keep the wood while it was day they thought. 
As Wallace thus in the thick forest sought, 
For his two men in mind he had great pain, 
He wist not well, if they were tain or slain. 
Or scaped haill by any jeopardy. 
Thirteen were left with him, no more had he ; 
In the Gask-hall their lodging have they tane. 
Fire got they soon, but meat then had they nanc ; 
Two sheep they took beside them of a fold, 
Ordain'd to sup into that seemly hold : 
Graithed in haste some food for them to dight ^ 
So heard they blow rude horns upon hight. 
Two sent he forth to look what it might be ; 
They bode right long, and no tidings hearde he, 

1 L. V. ch. I, p. 78, V. i. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 215 

But bousteous noise so bryvcly blowing fast ; 

So other two into the wood forth past. 

None came again, but bousteously can blaw, 

Into great ire he sent them forth on raw. 

When that alone Wallace was leaved there, 

The awful blast abounded meikle mare ; 

Then trow'd he \\ell they had his lodging seen ; 

His sword he drew of noble metal keen, 

Syne forth he went where at he heard the horn. 

Without the door Fawdoun was him bcforn, 

As to his sight, his own head in his hand ; 

A cross he made when he saw him so stand. 

At Wallace in the head he swakked there, 

And he in haste soon hint it by the hair, 

Syne out again at him he could it cast, 

Into his heart he greatly was agast. 

Right well he trow'd that was do sprit of man, 

It was some devil, that sic malice began. 

He wist no wale there longer for to bide. 

Up through the hail thus wight Wallace can glide, 

To a close stair, the boards they rave in twin, 

Fifteen foot large he lap out of that inn. 

Up the water he suddenly could fare. 

Again he blink'd what pearance he saw there. 

He thought he saw Fawdoun, that ugly sire, 

That haiil hall he had set into a fire ; 

A great rafter he had into his hand. 

Wallace as then no longer would he stand. 

Of his good men full great marvel had he, 

How they were tint through his feil fantasie. 

Trust right well that all this was sooth indeed, 

Suppose that it no point be of the creed. 

Power they had with Lucifer that fell. 

The time when he parted from heaven to hell. 

By sik mischief if his men might be lost. 

Drowned or slain among the English host ; 

Or what it was in likeness of Fawdoun. 

Which brought his men to sudden confusion ; 

Or if the man ended in ill intent. 

Some wicked sprit again for him present. • 

I cannot speak of sik divinity, 

To clerks I will let all sic matters be : 

But of Wallace, now forth I will you tell. 

When he was won out of that peril fell. 

Right glad was he that he had scaped sa. 

But for his men great mourning can he ma. 

Flait by himself to the Maker above 

Why he suffer'd he should sik paining prove. 

He wist not well if lliat it was God's will ; 

Rigl.t or wrong his fortune to fulfil. 

Had he plcas'd God, he trow'd it might not be 

He should him thole in sik perplcxitic. 


But great courage in his mind ever drawe, 
Of Englishmen thinking amends to have. 
I As he was thus walking by him alone 

Upon Ern side, making a piteous moan, 
Sir John Butler, to watch the fords right, 
Out from his men of Wallace had a sight ; 
The mist again to the mountains was gone, 
To him he rode, where that he made his mone. 
On loud he speir'd, What art thou walks that gate ? 
A true man. Sir, though my voyage be late ; 
Erands I pass from Down unto my lord. 
Sir John Stewart, the right for to record, 
In Down is now, newly come from the king. 
Then Butler said, this is a selcouth thing, 
You lied all out, you have been with Wallace, 
I shall thee know, ere you come off this place. 
To him he start the courser wonder wight, 
Drew out a sword, so made him for to light. 
Above the knee good Wallace has him tane, 
Through thigh and brawn in sunder strake the ban& 
• Derfly to dead the knight fell on the land. 
Wallace the horse soon seized in his hand. 
An ackward stroke syne took him in that stead. 
His craig in two ; thus was the Butler dead. 
An Englishman saw their chiftain was slain, 
A spear in rest he cast with all his main. 
On Wallace drave, from the horse him to bear ; 
Warily he wTOUght, as worthy man in wear. 
The spear he wan withouten more abode. 
On horse he lap, and through a great rout rode ; 
To Dalwryeth he knew the ford full well : 
Before him came feil stuffed in fine steel. 
He strake the first, but bade, on the blasoun, 
While horse and man both fleet the water down. 
Another soon down from his horse he bare. 
Stamped to gi-ound, and dro\vn'd withouten mare. 
The third he hit in his harness of steel. 
Throughout the cost, the spear it brake some deal. 
The great power then after him can ride. 
He saw 'no \vaill there longer for to bide. 
His burnisht brand braithly in hand he bare, 
Whom he hit right they followed him na mare. 
To stuff the chase feil freiks followed fast, 
But Wallace make the gayest ay agast. 
The muir he took, and through their power yeed. 
The horse was good, but yet he had great dread 
For failing ere he wan unto a strength. 
The chase was great, skaiFd over breadth and length, 
Through strong danger they had him ay in sight. 
At the Blackfoi-d there Wallace down can light. 
His horse stuffed, for way was deep and lang, 
A large great mile wightly on foot could gang. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 21/ 

Ere he was hors'd riders about him cast, 
He saw full well long so he might not last. 
Sad men indeed upon him can renew, 
With returning that night twenty he slew, 
The fiercest ay rudely rebuted he, 
Keeped his horse, and right wisely can flee, 
While that he came the mickcst muir amang. 
His horse gave over, and would no further gang^. 

I will close these specimens with an instance of our author's alle- 
gorical invention. 

In that slumber coming him thought he saw, 

An aged man fast toward him could draw, 

Soon by the hand he hint him hastily, 

I am, he said, in voyage charg'd with thee, 

A sword him gave of basely burnisht steel. 

Good son, he said, this wand you shall bruik weil. 

Of topaz stone him thought the plummet was, 

Both hilt and hand all glittering like the glass. 

Dear son, he said, we tarry here too long, 

Thou shalt go see where wrought is meikle wrong ; 

Then he him led to a mountain on hight, j 

The world him thought he might see at a sight. 

He left him there, syne soon from him he went, 

Thereof Wallace studied in his intent, 

To see him more he had still great desire. 

Therewith he saw begin a fellon fire. 

Which braithly burnt in breadth through all the land; 

Scotland all over, from Ross to Solway-sand. 

Then soon to him there descended a queen. 

Illuminate, light, shining full bright and sheen ; 

In her presence appeared so meikle light, 

That all the fire she put out of his sight. 

Gave him a wand of colour red and green, 

With a sapphire saved his face and eyn. 

Welcome, she said, I choose thee for my love. 

Thou art granted by the great God above, 

To help people that suffer meikle wrong. 

With thee as now I may not tarry long. 

Thou shalt return to thy own use again, 

Thy dearest kin are here in meikle pain ; 

This right region you must redeem it all, 

Thy last reward in earth shall be but small ; 

Let not therefore, take redress of this miss, 

To thy reward thou shalt have lasting bliss. 

Of her right hand she beraught him a book. 

And humbly thus her leave full soon she took, 

Unto the cloud ascended off his sight. 

Wallace brake up the book in all his might. 

1 Going — go. 


Into three parts the book well written was, 
The first writing was gross letters of brass, 
The second gold, the third was silver sheen. 
Wallace marvell'd what this writing should mean ; 
To read the book he busied him so fast, 
His spirit again to waking mind is past, 
And up he rose, syne soundly forth he went. 
This clerk he found, and told him his intent 
Of his vision, as I have said before, 
Completely through, what needs any words more. 
Dear son, he said, my wit unable is 
To ransack sik, for dread 1 say amiss ; 
Yet I shall deem, though my cunning be small, 
God grant no charge alter my words may fall. 
Saint Andrew was gave thee that sword in hand, 
Of saints he is the vower of Scotland ; 
That mountain is, where he had thee on hight. 
Knowledge to have of wrong that thou must right ; 
The fire shall be fell tidings, ere ye part^ 
Which shall be told in many fundr}' airt. 
I cannot well wit what queen that should be, 
Whether Fortune, or our Lady so free. 
Likely it is, by the brightness she brought. 
Mother of him that all the world has wrought. 
The pretty wand, I trow, by mine intent, 
Assigns to you rule and cruel judgment ; 
The red colour, who graithly understood, 
Betokens all to great battle and blood ; 
The green, courage, that thou art now among, 
In trouble and war thou shalt continue long ; 
The sapphire stone she blessed thee withal, 
Is lasting grace, will God, shall to thee fall ; 
The threefold book is but this broken land, 
Thou must redeem by worthiness of hand ; 
The brass letters betokens but to this. 
The great oppress of war and meilde miss. 
The which you shall bring to the right again, 
But you therefore must suffer meikle pain ; 
The gold betokens honour and worthiness. 
Victory in arms, that thou shalt have by grace ; 
The silver shews clean life and heaven's bliss, 
To thy reward that mirth thou shalt not miss. 
Dread not therefore, be out of all despair. 
Further as now hereof I can na mare. 

About the present period, historical romances of recent events seem 
to have commenced. Many of these appear to have been written by 
heralds^. In the library of Worcester college at Oxford, there is a poem 
in French, reciting the achievements of Edward the Black Prince, who 

1 Le Pere Mcnestrier, Cheval. Ancien. c. v. p. 225. Par. lamo. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 219 

died in the year 1376. It is in the short verse of romance, and was 
written by the prince's herald, who attended close by his person in all 
his battles, according to the established mode of those times. This 
was John Chandois-herald, frequently mentioned in Froissart. In this 
piece, which is of considerable length, the names of the Englishmen 
are properly spelled, the chronology exact, and the epitaph^, forming a 
sort of peroration to the narrative, the same as was ordered by the 
prince in his will'. This poem, indeed, may seem to claim no place 
here, because it happens to be written in the French language: yet, 
exclusive of its subject, a circumstance I have mentioned, that it was 
composed by a herald, deserves particular attention, and throws no 
small illustration on the poetry of this era. There are several proofs 
which indicate that many romances of the fourteenth centuiy, if not in 
verse, at least those written in prose, were the work of heralds. As it 
was their duty to attend their masters in battle, they were enabled to 
record the most important transactions of the field with fideliiy. It 
was customary to appoint none to this office but persons of discern- 
ment, address, experience, and some degree of education^ At solemn 
tournaments they made an essential part of the ceremony. Here they 
had an opportunity of observing acoutrements, armorial distinctions, 
the number and appearance of the spectators, together with the various 
events of the tourney, to the best advantage : and they were afterwards 
obliged to compile an ample register of this strange mixture of foppery 
and ferocity*. They were necessarily connected with the minstrels at 
public festivals, and thence acquired a facility of reciting adventures. 
A learned French antiquary is of opinion, that anciently the French 
heralds, called Hiraiix, were the same as the minstrels, and that they 
sung metrical tales at festivals^. They frequently received fees or lar- 
gesse in common with the minstrels*'. They travelled into different 
countries, and saw the fashions of foreign courts, and foreign tourna- 

1 It is a fair and beautiful MSS. on vellum. It is an oblong octavo, and formerly belonged 
to Sir William Le Neve, Ciarencieux herald. 

- The hero's epitaph is frequent in romances. In the French romance of Sain'TRE, written 
about this lime, his epitaph is introduced. 

3 Le Pcre ilenestrier Cheval. Ancien. ut supr. p. 223, ch. v. 'Que Ton croyoit avoir /"/T-f/r//, 
&-a' Feroii, says, that they gave this attendance in order to make a true report. L'lustit. 
des Roys et Herauds, p. 44, a. See also Favin, p. 57. See a curious description in Froissart, 
of an interview between the Chandois herald, mentioned above, and a marshal of France, 
where they enter into a warm and very serious dispute concerning the devices ttav.our borne 
by e.ich army. Liv. i. ch. 161. 

■• ' L'un des principaux fonctions des Herautes d'armes ctoit se trouver au jousts, &c. ou ils 
gardoient les ecus pendans, recevoient les noms et les blasons des chevaliers, en tcnoient 
REGISTRE, et en composoicnt recueils, &c.' Menesir, Orig. des Arraoir, p. 180. Sec also p. 
ug. These registers are mentioned in Perceforest, xi. 68, 77. 

* Carpenlier, .Suppl. Du Cang. Gloff. Lat. p. 750, torn. ii. 

6 Thus at St, George's feast at Windsor we have, 'Diversis hcraldisetministrallis, &c.' Ann 
21, Ric.ii. Q Hen. vi. Apud Anstis, Ord Gart. i. 56, 108. And again, Exit. Pell. M. ann. 22, 
Edw. iil. Mrigistro Andrea; Koy Norreys, [a herald,\ Lybekin U- Piper, et Haiiakino filio 
suo, et sex aliis mcitslrallis reikis in denanis cis liberalis de dona regis, in subsidium cxpen- 
s.-irum suaruin, Iv. s. iv. rf.'— Exit. Pell. P. ann. :(•?, Edw. ii. ' Willielmo Volaunt n.g'i /ifra/- 
fiortim et miniitrallis cxistcntibus apud Smithlicld in ultimo hastiludio dc dono regis, x /.' I 
could give many other proof:>. 

220 spencer's allusions TO DUTIES OF THE HERALDS. 

ments. They not only committed to writing the process of the lists, 
but it was also their business, at magnificent feasts, to describe the 
number and parade of the dishes, the quality of the guests, the bril- 
liant dresses of the ladies, the courtesy of the knights, the revels, dis« 
guisings, banquets, and every other occurrence most obsei'vable in the 
course of the solemnity. Spenser alludes expressly to these heraldic 
details, where he mentions the splendor of Florimel's wedding. 

To tell the glory of the feast that day. 

The goodly serA^se, the devisefuU sights, 

The bridegrome's state, the bride's most rich array, 

The pride ol ladies, and the worth of knights, 

The royall banquettes, and the rare delights, 

Were work fit for an HERALD, not for me^. 

I suspect that Chaucer, not perhaps without ridicule, glances at some 
of these descriptions, with which his age abounded ; and which he 
propably regarded with less reverence, and read with less edification, 
than did the generality of his cotemporary readers. 

Why shulde 1 tellen of the rialte 

Of that wedding? or which course goth beforn ? 

Who blowith in a trumpe, or in a horn^? 

Again, in describing Cambuscan's feast. 

Of which shall I tell all the array, 

Then would it occupie a sommer's day : 

And eke it nedeth not to devise, 

At everie course the order of servise : 

I will not tellen as now of her strange sewes, 

Ne of her swans, ne of her heronsewes^ 

And at the feast of Theseus, in the Knight's Tale* 

The minstralcie, the service at the feste. 
The grcte geftes also to the most and Icste, 
The riche array of Theseus palleis, 
Ne vifho sat first or last upon the deis. 
What ladies feyrist ben, or best daunsing, 
Or which of them can best dauncin or sing, 
Ne who most felingly spekith of love, 
Ne what haukes sittin on pcrchis above, 
Ne what houndes liggen on the floure adoun, 
Of all this now I make no mentioun. 

In the Floure and the Leaf, the same poet has described in eleven 
long stanzas, the procession to a splendid tournament, with all the prn- 
lixity and exactness of a herald^ The same affectation, derived from 
the same sources, occurs often in Ariosto. 

1 F. Q. V. iii. 3. " Man of Lawe's T. v. 704_. 3 Squires T. v. 83. 

4 V. 2199, p. 17, Urr. ^ From v. 204, 10 v. 287. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 221 

It were easy to illustrate this doctrine by various examples. The 
famous French romance of Saintre was evidently the performance 
of a herald. John de Saintre, the knight of the piece, was a real 
person, and, according to Froissart, was taken prisoner at the battle of 
Poitiers, in the year 1356^. But the compiler confounds chronology, 
and ascribesto his hero many pieces of true history belonging to others. 
This was a common practice in these books. Some authors have sup- 
posed that this romance appeared before the year 1380''^. But there 
are reasons to prove, that it was written by Antony de la Sale, a Bur- 
gundian, author of a book of Ceremonies, from his name very 
quaintly entitled La Sallade, and frequently cited by our learned 
antiquary Selden'^. This Antony came into England to see the so- 
lemnity of the queen's coronation in the year 1445*. I have not seen 
any French romance which has preserved the practices of chivalry 
more copiously than this of Saintre. It must have been an absolute 
master-piece for the rules of tilting, martial customs, and public cere- 
monies prevailing in its author's age. In the library of the Office of 
Anns, there remains a very accurate description of a feast of Saint 
George, celebrated at Windsor in 147 1^ It appears to have been 
written by the herald Blue-mantle Poursuivant. Menestrier says, that 
Guillaume Rucher, herald of Renault, has left a large treatise, de- 
scribing the tournaments annually celebrated at Lisle in Flanders". In 
the reign of Edward IV., John Smarte, a Norman, garter king at arms, 
described in French the tournament held at Bruges, for nine days, in 
honour of the marriage of the duke of Burgundy with Margaret the 
king's daughter'. There is a French poem, entitled, Les noms et. les 
armcs des seigneurs, &^c. a V assiege de Ka7'leverch en Escoce, 1300^. 
This was undoubtedly written by a herald. The author thus describes 
the banner of John duke of Bretaigne. 

Baniere avoit cointee et paree De or ct de asur eschequeree 

Au rouge curie o jaunes lupars Determinee estoit la quarte pars®. 

i Froissart, Hist. i. p. 178. 

2 Bysshc, Not. in Upton. MiUt. Ofllc, p. 56. Mfenestrier, Orig. Arm. p. 23. 

3 Tit. Hon. p. 413, &.C. ■* Anst. Ord. Gart. ii. 321. 5 .MSS. Offic. Arm. M. 15. f. 12, 13. 

6 ' Guillaume Rucher, heraut d'armes du litre de Heynaut, a fait un gros volume darois ^s 
I'Epincttc a Lisle en Flanders ; c'esit une ceremonie, ou un feste, dont il a decrit les joustes, 
tournois, noms, armoiries, livrees, el equipages de divers seigneurs, qui .se rendoient de divers 
endroiis, avec le catalogues de rois de cetie feste.' Menestr. I'Orig. des Armoir, p. 64. 

' SecmanyotherinstanccsiuMSS. Harl. 69, fol. emit. TheBookeofcertaineTriu.mphes. 
See also AiiE.sut.x lo the new edition of Leiand's Collectanea. 

8 .MSS. Colt. Brit. Mus. 

>♦ The bishop of Glocestcr has most obligingly condescended to point out to me another 
^ . . lo which many of the romances of the fourteenth century owed their existence. 

i ucon, in his Monu.mens de la Monakchik Fkancoise, has printed the Staiiits de 

I ■ ■ dn Saint Esprit au droit desir ov du Nocud eutnbii par Louis d' Anjou roide "Jeni- 

mii! ct Si'-'ii-' en 1352-3-4, tom. ii. p._ ^29. This was an annual celebration au Chnstel de V 
J'.uffuclumti dumcrveilleuz peril. 'Ihe castle, as appears by the monuments which accom- 
jany these statutes, was built at the foot of the obscure grot oj the enchantments of Virgil. 
T:i<i statutes are as extraordinary as if ihcy had been drawn up by Don himself, or 
his asse>M)r& the curate and the barber. From the seventh chapter we learn, that the knights 


The pompous circumstances of which these heraldic narratives con- 
sisted, and the minute prohxity with which they were displayed, seem 
to have infected the professed historians of this age. Of this there 
are various instances in Froissart, who had no other design than to 
compile a chronicle of real facts. I will give one example out of many. 
At a treaty of marriage between our Richard II. and Isabel daughter 
of Charles V. king of France, the two monarchs, attended with a 
noble retinue, met and formed several encampments in a spacious 
plain, near the castle of Guynes. Froissart expends many pages in 
relating at large the costly furniture of the pavilions, the riches of the 
side-boards, the profusion and variety of sumptuous liquors, spices, 
and dishes, with their order of service, the number of the attendants, 
v/ith their address and exact discharge of duty in their respective 
offices, the presents of gold and precious stones made on both sides, 
and a thousand other particulars of equal importance, relating to the 
parade of this royal interview^. On this account, Caxton, in his ex- 
hortation to the knights of his age, ranks Froissart's history, as a book 
of chivalr)"-, with the romances of Lancelot and Percival ; and recom- 
mends it to their attention, as a manual equally calculated to inculcate 
the knightly virtues of courage and courtesy-. This indeed was in an 
age when not only the courts of princes, but the castles of barons, 
vied with one another in the lustre of their shews : when tournaments, 
coronations, royal interviews, and solemn festivals, were the grand 
objects of mankind. Froissart was an eye-witness of many of the 
ceremonies which he describes. His passion seems to have been that 
of seeing magnificent spectacles, and of hearing reports concerning 
them^. Although a canon of two churches, he passed his life in 
travelling from court to court, and from castle to castle*. He thus, 
either from his ov/n observation, or the credible informations of 
others, easily procured suitable materials for a history, which professed 
only to deal in sensible objects, and those of the most splendid and 
conspicuous kind. He was familiarly known to two kings of England, 
and one of Scotland^ But the court which he most admired was 

who came to this yearly festival at the chatel de V euf, were obliged to deliver in writing to 
the clerks of the chapel of the castle their yearly adventures. Such of these histories as were 
thought worthy to be recorded, the clerks are ordered to transcribe in a book, which was 
1 "Jled Le livre dcs aveneineiUs aux chevaliers, ^^c. Et dcvierra Ic dit livre ioujours en la 
dicte chaJ>cLle. This sacred register certainly furnished from time to time ample materials to 
the romance writers. And this circumstance gives a new explanation to a reference which we 
so frequently find in romances : 1 mean, that appeal which they so constantly make to some 
authentic record. 

1 Froiffart's CuONVCLE, translated by Lord*Berners. Pinson, 1523, vol. ii. f 242. 

- Bokc of the Ordre of Chevalryc or Knighthood: Translated out of the Fremlte and 
imprinted by IVylliain Caxtoti. S.D. Perhaps 1484, 410. 

3 His father was a painter of armories. This might give him an early turn for shews. See 
M. de la Curne de S. Palaye, Mem. Lit. torn. .\. p. 664. edit. 410. 

* He was originally a clerk of the chamber to Pliilippa, queen of Edward III He was after- 
wards canon and treasurer of Cliimay in Hen.-iuh, and of Lisle in Flanders: and chaplain to 
Guy earl of Castellon. Labor. Introd. a I'Hist. de Cliarlcs vi. p. 69 Compare also Froissart's 
Chron. »i. i. 29, 305, 319. And Bullart, Academ. des Ails et des ijcienc i. p. 125, 126. 

6 Chron. ii. f 15,3, 161. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 223 

that of Gaston earl of Foix, at Orlaix in Beam ; for, as he himself 
acquaints us, it was not only the most brilliant in Europe, but the 
grand centre for tidings of martial adventures^. It was crowded with 
knights of England and Aragon. In the mean time it must not be 
forgot, that Froissart, who from his childhood was strongly attached 
to carousals, the music of minstrels, and the sports of hawking and 
hunting-, cultivated the poetry of the troubadours, and was a writer of 
romances^ This turn, it must be confessed, might have some share 
in communicating that romantic cast to his history which I have men- 
tioned. During his abode at the court of the earl of Foix, where he 
was entertained for twelve weeks, he presented to the earl his collec- 
tion of the poems of the duke of Luxemburgh, consisting of sonnets, 
balades, and virelays. Among these was included a romance, com- 
posed by himself, called jMeliader, or The Knight of the Sun of 
Gold. Gaston's chief amusement was to hear Froissart read this 
romance* every evening after supper'. At his introduction to Richard 
II., he presented that brilliant monarch with a book beautifully illu- 
minated, engrossed with his own hand, bound in crimson velvet, and 
embellished with silver bosses, clasps, and golden roses, comprehend- 
ing all the matters of Amours and Moralities, which in the course 
of twenty-four years he had composed''. This was in the year 1396. 

1 Oiron. it f. 30. This was in 1381. - Mem. Lit. ut supr. p. 665. 

3 Speaking of the death of king Richard, Frois;art quotes a prediction from the old French 
prose romance of Brut, which he says was fulfilled in that catastrophe. Liv. iv. c. 119. 
Froissart will be mentioned again as a poet. 

* I take this opportunity of remarking, that romantic tales or histories appear at a very' 
early period to have been read as well as SUNG at feasts. So Wace in the Roman du Rou- 
in the British Museum, above-mentioned. 

Doit Ten les vers et les regestes, Et les estoircs lirh as festes, 

8 Froissart brought with him for a present to Gaston Earl of Foix four greyhounds, which 
were called by the romantic names of Tristram, Hector, Brut, and Roland. Gaston was so 
fond of hunting that he kept ujjwajds of 600 dogs in his castle. ]\I. de la Curne, ut supr. p. 
676, 678. He wrote a treatise on hunting, printed 1520. See Verdier, Art. Gaston Comtc 
de Foix. In illustration of the former part of this note, Crescimbeni .says, ' Che in molte 

Venez. 410. 

6 I should think that this was his romance of Meliader. Froissart says, that the king 
at receiving it asked him what the book treated of. He answered, d' Amour. The king, 
adds Our historian, seemed much pleased at this ; and examined the book in many places, for 
he was fond of reading as well as speaking French. He then ordered Richard Crendon, the 
chevalier in waiting, to carry it into his privy chamber, doitt il vtc Jit bon chcre. He gave 
copies of the several parts of his chronicle, as they were finished, to his different patrons. Le 
Labourreur says, that Froissart sent fifty-six quires of hLs Roman au Ckoniques to 
Guillaume de Bailly an illuminator: which, when illuminated, were intended as a present to 
the king of England. Hist. ch. vi. En la vie de Louis due d'Anjou, p. (n scq. Sec also 
Cron. i. iv. c. i. — iii. 26. There are two or three fine illuminated copies of Froi.ssart now re- 
maining among the royal manuscripts in the British Museum. Among the stores of Henry 
VIII. at his manor of Bcdington in Surrey, I find the fiishionable reading of the times exem- 
plified in the following books, viz. 'Item, a. great book of parchmente written and lymned 
with gold of graver's work De Coii/eisiorie Amantii, with xviii other bookcs, Le premier 
'volume de Lancelot, Fhoissart, Le grant voiage do Jerusalem, Enguerain de Monstrcllot, 
&c.' MbS. HarL 1419, f. 3S2. Froissart was here properly classed. 


When he left England the same year^, the king sent him a massy 
goblet of silver, filled with one hundred nobles^. 

As we are approaching to Chaucer, let us here stand still, and take 
a retrospect of the general manners. The tournaments and carousals 
of our ancient princes, by forming splendid assemblies of both sexes, 
while they inculcated the most liberal sentiments of honour and hero- 
ism, undoubtedly contributed to introduce ideas of courtesy, and to 
encourage decorum. Yet the national manners still retained a great 
degree of ferocity, and the ceremonies of the most refined courts in 
Europe had often a mixture of barbarism, which rendered them ridicu- 
lous. This absurdity will always appear at periods when men are so 
far civilised as to have lost their native simplicity, and yet have not 
attained just ideas of politeness and propriety. Their luxury was in- 
elegant, their pleasures indelicate, their pomp cumbersome and un- 
wieldy. In the mean time it may seem surprising, that the many 
schools of philosophy which flourished in the middle ages, should not 
have corrected and polished the times. But as their religion was cor- 
rupted by superstition, so their philosophy degenerated into sophistry. 
Nor is it science alone, even if founded on truth, that will polish 
nations. For this purpose, the powers of imagination must be 
awakened and exerted, to teach elegant feelings, and to heighten our 
natural sensibilities. It is not the head only that must be informed, 
but the heart must also be moved. Many classic authors were known 
in the thirteenth century, but the scholars of that period wanted taste 
to read and admire them. The pathetic or sublime strokes of Virgil 
would be but little relished by theologists and metaphysicians. 


The most illustrious ornament of the reign of Edward III., and of 
his successor Richard II., was Jeffrey Chaucer ; a poet with whom the 
history of our poetry is by many supposed to have commenced : and 
who has been pronounced, by a critic of unquestionable taste and 

1 Froissart says, that he accompanied the kin^ to various palaces, 'A Elten, a Ledos, a 
' Kinkestove, a Cenes, a Certesee, et a Windsor.' That is, Ehham, Leeds, Kingston, Chert- 
sey, &c. Chron. Hv. iv. c. 119, p. 348. The French are not much impro\ed at this day 
spelling English places and names. 'Perhaps by Ct'«?j, Froissart means Shene, the royal 
palace at Richmond.' 

- Cron. f. 251, 252, 255, 319, 348. Bayle, who has an article on Froissart, had no idea of 
searching for anecdotes of Froissart's life in his Chro.n'icle. Instead of which, he swells his 
notes on this article with the contradictory accounts of Morcri, Vossius, and others : whose 
disputes might have been all easily settled by recurring to Froissart himself, who has inter- 
spersed in his history many curious particulars relating to his own life and works. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 22$ 

discernment, to be the first English versifier who wrote poetically^. 
He was born in the year 1328, and educated at Oxford, where he made 
a rapid progress in the scholastic sciences as they were then taught : 
but the liveliness of his parts, and the native gaiety of his disposition, 
soon recommended him to the patronage of a magnificent monarch, 
and rendered him a very popular and acceptable character in the 
brilliant court which I have above described. In the mean time, 
he added to his accomplishments by frequent tours into France and 
Italy, which he sometimes visited under the advantages of a public 
character. Hitherto our poets had been persons of aprivate and circum- 
scribed education, and the art of versifying, like every other kind of 
composition, had been confined to recluse scholars. But Chaucer was 
a man of the world : and Irom this circumstance we are to account, in 
great measure, for the many new embellishments which he conferred 
on our language and our poetr)^ The descriptions of splendid proces- 
sions and gallant carousals, with which his works abound, are a proof 
that he was conversant with the practices and diversions of polite life. 
Familiarity with a variety of things and objects, opportunitiesof acquiring 
the fashionable and courtly modes of speech, connections with the 
great at home, and a personal acquaintance with the vernacular poets 
of foreign countries, opened his mind and furnished him with new 
lights^. In Italy he was introduced to Petrarch, at the wedding of 
Violante, daughter of Galleazzo duke of Milan, with the duke of 
Clarence : and it is not improbable that Boccacio was of the party^ 
Although Chaucer undoubtedly studied the works of these celebrated 
writers, and particularly of Dante before this fortunate interview ; yet 
it seems likely, that these excursions gave him a new relish for 
their compositions, and enlarged his knowledge of the Italian fables. 
His travels likewise enabled him to cultivate the Italian and Provencal 
languages with the greatest success : and induced him to polish the 
asperity, and enrich the sterility of his native versification, with softer 
cadences, and a more copious and varigated phraseology. In this 
attempt, which was authorised by the recent and popular examples of 
Petrarch in Italy, and Alain Chartier in France*, he was countenanced 
and ai,sisted by his fiiend John Gower, the early guide and encourager 

1 Johnson's Dictionary, Pref. p. i. 

* I'he carl of Salisbury, beheaded by Henry IV., could not Chaucer. I do 
not mean for political reasons. The earl was a writer of vrr^ts, and very fond of poetry. On 
this account, his acquainlance was much cultivated by the famous Christina of Pisa ; whose 
works, both in prose and verse, compose so considerable a part of the old I'" reach literature. 
She used to call him 'Gracleu.x chevalier, aimant dicticz, et lui-meme gracieux dictcur.' See 
M. Boivin, Mem. Lit. tom. ii. p. 767, scq. 4to. I have seen none of this carl's Ditties. 
Otherwise he would have been here considered in form, as an English poet. 

* Froissart was also present. Vib ue Petraruue, iii. 772. Amst. 1766, 410. I believe 
Paulus Jovius is the first who lacnlions this auccdule. ViL Galcas. ii. p. 152. 

'' Lc l aiid, Scrip. Ijrit. 431. 



of his Studies^ The revival of learning in most countries appear to 
have first owed its rise to translation. At rude periods the modes of 
original thinking are unknown, and the arts of original composition 
have not yet been studied. The writers therefore of such periods are 
chiefly and very usefully employed in importing the ideas of other 
languages into their own. They do not venture to think for themselves, 
nor aim at the merit of inventors, but they are laying the foundations 
of literature : and while they are naturalising the knowledge of more 
learned ages and countries by translation, they are imperceptibly im- 
proving the national language. This has been remarkably the case, 
not only in England, but in France and Italy, In the year 1387, 
John Trevisa, canon of Westbury in Wiltshire, and a great traveller, 
not only finished a translation of the Old and New Testaments, at 
the command of his munificient patron Thomas lord Berkley^, but also 
translated Higden's Polychronicon, and other Latin pieces^. But 
these translations would have been alone insufficient to have produced 
or sustained any considerable revolution in our language : the great 
work was reserved for Gower and Chaucer. Wickliffe had also trans- 
lated the bible"* : and in other respects his attempts to bring about a 
reformation in religion at this time proved beneficial to English litera- 
ture. The orthodox divines of this period generally wrote in Latin : 
but Wickliffe, that his arguments might be familiarised to common 
readers and the bulk of the people, was obliged to compose in English 
his numerous theological treatises against the papal corruptions. 
Edward III., while he perhaps intended only to banish a badge 
of conquest, greatly contributed to establish the national dialect, by 
abohshing the use of the Norman tongue in the pubhc acts and 
judicial proceedings, as we have before observed, and by substituting 
the national language of the country. But Chaucer manifestly first 
taught his countrymen to write English ; and formed a style by 
naturalising words from the Provencal, at that time the most polished 
dialect of any in Europe, and the best adapted to the purposes of 
poetical expression; 

1 Gower, Confess. Amant. 1. v. fol. 190, b. Barthel, 1554. 

And grete wel Chaucer, when ye mete. As my disciple and my pocte : 
For in the flowers of his youth. In sundrie wise as he well couth, 

Of dites and of songs glade The which he for my sake made, etc. 

2 H. Wharton, Append. Cav. p. 49. 

3 Such as IJartholomcw Hantwille De Proprieiatibus Reriivi, lib. xix. Printed by Wynkyn 
de Wordo, 1494 fol. And Vegetius De Arte Miliiari, MSS. Digb. 233. Bibl. Bodl. In the 
same MSS. is /Egidius Romanus De Regiminc Prhicifiiim, a translation probably by Tre- 
visa. He also translated some pieces of Richard Fitzraiph, archbishop of Armagh. See 
supr. p. 291. He wrote a tract, prefixed to his version of the Polychronicon, on the utility 
of translations. De UtiUtnte Translaiiomivi. Dialcgus inter Clcricuvi et FatTonmi. See 
more of his translations in MSS. Harl. 1900. I do not find his English Bible in any of out 
libraries, nor do I believe that any copy of it now remains. Caxton mentions it in the preface 
to his edition of the English Polychronicon. 

* It is obsers'able, that he made his translation from the vulgate Latin version of Jcrom. It 
was finished 13^3. See MSS. Cod. Hibl. Coll. Eman. Cant. 102. 


It is certain thiat Chaucer abounds in classical allusions : but his 
poetry is not formed on tlie ancient models. He appears to have been 
an uni\crsal reader, and his learning is sometimes mistalien for 
genius : but his chief sources were the French and Italian poets. 
From these originals two of his capital poems, the Knight's tale^, 
and the Romaunt of the rose, are imitations or translations. The 
first of these is taken from Boccacio. 

Boccacio was the disciple of Petrarch ; and although principally- 
known and deservedly celebrated as a writer or inventor of tales, he 
was by his cotemporaries usually placed in the third rank after Dante 
and Petrarch. But Boccacio having seen the Platonic sonnets of his 
master Petrarch, in a fit of despair committed all his poetry to the 
flames-, except a single poem, of which his own good taste had long 
taught him to entertain a more favourable opinion. This piece, tlius 
happily rescued from destruction, is at present so scarce and so little 
known, even in Italy, as to have left its author but a slender proportion, 
of that eminent degree of poetical reputation, which he might have 
justly claimed from so extraordinary a performance. It is an heroic 
poem, in twelve books, entitled, LE teseide, and written in the octave 
stanza, called by the Italians ottava 7ima, w^hich Boccacio adopted 
from the old French chausons, and here first introduced among his 
countrymen^. It was printed at Ferrara, but with some deviations 
from the original, and even misrepresentations of the story, in the 
year 1475*. Afterwards, I think, in 1488. And for the third and last 
time at Venice, in the year 1528". But the corruptions have been 
sufferred to remain through every edition. 

Whether Boccacio was the inventor of the story of this poem is a 
curious enquiry. It is certain that Theseus was an early hero of 
romance**. He was taken from that grand repository of the Grecian 
heroes, the History of Troye, written by Guido de Colonna''. In the 
royal library at Paris, there is a MSS. entitled. The Roman de 
Theseus ET de GadiferI Probably this is the printed French 
romance, under the title. ' Histoire du chevalier Theseus de Cou^ 

^ Chaucer alludes to some book from whence tliis tale was taken, more than once, viz. v. i. 
'Whilom, as olde stories tellin us,' v. 1465. 'As oldc books to us sainc, that all this storie 
tclleth more plain,' v. 2814. 'Of soulis fynd I nought in tliis re^istrt.' That is, this history, 
or narrative. See also v. 2297. In the Legende 0/ good women, where Chaucer's works are 
mentioned, is this passage, which I do not well understand, v. 420. 

And al the love of Palamon and Arcite Of Thebis, though the storie is knoivn lite. 

' Goujet, Bibl. Fr. Tom. vii. p. 328. But we except, that besides the poem mentioned 
below, Boccacio's Amazonida, e Forze d'Ercole, are both now extant : and were printed 
at Ferrara in, or about, the year 1475 fol. 

3 Crcscimben, Istor. Volgar. Pocs. vol. i. L. i. p. 65. Ven. 1731, 4to. 

* Pocma della TtsEiDE del Boccacio chiosato, e dichiarato du Andrea de Bassi in Ferrara, 
1475, fol. 

^ In Lydgate's Temple of Gla.s, never printed, among the lovers painted on the wall is 
Theseus killing the Minotaurc. I suppose from Ovid. Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Fairfax, i6. Or 
Irom Chaucer, Le^ende Ariadne. 

8 MSS. BibL [keg. Paris.] Tom. iL 974. E. 


logne, par sa prouesse empereur de Rome, et aussi de son fils Gadifer 
'empereur du Greece, et de trois enfans du dit Gadifer, traduite de 

Vieille rime Picarde en prose Francoise.' Paris 1534-'^. Gadifer, 
with whom Theseus is joined in this ancient tale, written probably by 
a troubadour of Picardy,is a champion in the oldest French romances^. 
He is mentioned frequently in the French romance of Alexander.^ In 
the romance of Perceforrest, he is called king of Scotland, and said 
to be crowned by Alexander the great*. But whether or no this prose 
HiTOiRE DU Chevalier Theseus is the story of Theseus in 
question, or whether this is the same Theseus, I cannot ascertain. 
There is likewise in the same royal library a manuscript, called by 
Montfaucon, HiSTORiA Thesei in lingua vulgari, in ten books^ 
The Abbe Goujet observes, that there is in some libraries of France 
an old French translation of BbcCAClo's Theseid, from which Anna 
de Graville formed the French poem of Palamon and Arcite, at the 
command of queen Claude, wife of Francis I., about the year 1487^. 
Either the translation used by Anna de Graville, or her poem, is 
perhaps the second of the manuscripts mentioned by Montfaucon. Boc- 
cacio's Theseid has also been translated into Itahan prose, by 
Nicholas Granuci and printed at Lucca in 1579'^. Boccacio himself 
mentions the story of Palamon and Arcite. This may seem to imply 
that the story existed before his time : unless he artfully intended to 
recommend his own poem on the subject by such an allusion. It is 
where he introduces two lovers singing a portion of this tale. ' Dioneo 
' e Fiametta gran pezza canterona insieme d'ARCITE e de PalajMONE^.' 
By Dioneo, Boccacio represents himself; and by Fiametta, his 
mistress, Mary of Aragon, a natural daughterof Rob. king of Naples. 

yf I confess I am of opinion, that Boccacio's Theseid is an original 
composition. But there is a Greco-barbarous poem extant on this 
subject, which, if it could be proved to be antecedent in point of time 
to the Italian poem, would degrade Boccacio to a mere translator on 
this occasion. It is a matter that deserves to be examined at large, 
and to be traced with accuracy. 

This Greek poem is as little known and as scarce as Boccacio's 
Theseid. It is entitled, Qija-fos koX ydnov rijs 'E/xj/X/as. It was printed 
in quarto at Venice in the year 1529. Stavipata in Vincgia per 

1 Fol. torn. ii. Again, ibid. 410. Bl. Lett. Lenglet, Bibl. Rom. p. igi. 

'S The chevaliers of the courts of Charles the fifth and si.\th adopted names from the olU 
romances, such as Lancelot, Gadifer, Carados, &c. Mem. anc. Che\al. i. p. 340. 

3 Historic du Perceforrest roy de la Gr. Bretagne, et Gadiffcr roy d'Escoffe, &c. 6 torn. 
Paris, 1531. foL 

•» Bibl. MSS. ut supr. p. 773. 

5 4to. There is a French prose translation with it. The Theseid has also been translated 
into French prose by D. C. C. 1597. izmo. Paris. 'La Theseide de Jcin Boccace, con- 
' tenant les chastes amours de deu.\ chevaliers Thebans, Arcite et Polemon, iic' Jane de la 
Fontaine also translated into French verse this poem. She died 1536. Her translation was 
never printed. It is applauded by Joannes Secundus, Elejj. xv. 

6 Giorn. vii. Nov. 10. p. 348. edit. Vineg. 1548. 410. Chaucer liimself alludes to this story, LI. 
Kn. V. 369. Perh.-ips on the same principle. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 229 

Gtovanaittonio et fratclli da Sabbio a rcqtdsitionc de M. Damiano de 
Santa Maria de Spici MDXXIX, del Mesc de Dccembrio^. It is not 
mentioned by Crusius or Fabricius : but it is often cited by Du Cange 
in his Greek glossary, under the title, De Nuptii Thesei et yEMiLi^E. 
The heads of the chapters are adorned with rude wooden cuts of the 
story. I once suspected that Boccacio, having received this poem from 
some of his learned friends among the Grecian exiles, who being driven 
from Constantinople took refuge in Italy about the fourteenth century, 
translated it into Italian. Under this supposition, I was indeed sur- 
prised to find the idea of chivalry, and the ceremonies of a tournament 
minutely described, in a poem which appeared to have been written at 
Constantinople. But this difficulty was soon removed, when I 
recollected that the Franks, Venetians, and Germans, had been inposes- 
sion of that city for more than one hundred years ; and that Baldwin 
earl of Flanders was elected emperor of Constantinople in the year 1 204, 
and was succeeded by four Latin orFrankishemperours,down totheyear 
126x2. Add to this, that the word repi/e/xeVi-oi/' a tournament, occurs 
in the Byzantine historians^. From the same communication likewise, 

1 A MSS. of it is in the Royal library at Paris, Cod. 2569. Du Cange, Ind. Auct. Gloss. 
Gr. Barb. ii. p. 65. col. i. 

- About which period it is probable that the anonymous Greek poem, called the Loves of 
Lybister a»d lihoiiamna, W3i9, written. This appears by the German name Frederic, which 
often occurs in it, and is grecised, with many other German words. In a MSS. of this poem 
which Crusius saw, were many paintings and illuminations : where, in the representation of a 
battle, he observed no gims, but javelins, and bows and arrows. He adds, 'et musicae 
testudines.' It is written in the iambic measure mentioned below. It is a series of wandering 
adventures with little art or invention. Lybister, the son of a Latin king, and a Christian, 
sets forward accompanied with an hundred attendants in search of Rhodamna, whom he had 
lost by the stratagems of a certain old woman skilled in magic. He meets Clitophon son of 
4 king in Armenia. They undergo various dangers in different countries. Lybister relates 
nis dream concerning a partridge and an eagle ; and how from that dream he fell in love with 
Rhodamna daughter of Chyses a pagan kingf and communicated his passion by sending an 
arrow, to which his name was affixed, into a tower, or castle, called Argj'rocastre, &c. Sec 
Crusii Turco-Gra;cia, p. 974. But we find a certain species of erotic romances, some in verse 
and some in prose, existing in the Greek empire, the remains and the dregs of Heliodorus, 
Achilles Tatius, Xenophon the Ephesian, Charito, Eustathius or Eumathius, and others, 
about or rather before the year 1200. Such are the Loves of Rhodante a?td Dosicles of 
Theodoras Prodromus, who wrote about the year 1130. This piece was imitated by Nicetas 
Eugenianus in the Loves of Charicell and Drosilla. See Labb. Bibl. Nov. INISS. p. 220. 
Whether or no Tlie Loves of Callimachus and Chrysorrhoe, The Erotic history of Hemperius, 
Tlie history of tlie Loves of Florins and Platzaflora, with some others, all by anonymous 
authors, and in Greco-barbarous iambics, were written at Constantinople ; or whether they 
were the compositions of the learned Greeks after their dispersion, of whom more will be said 
hereafter, I am not able to determine. Nessel. i. p. 342. 343. Meurs Gloss. Gr. Barb. V. 
Bdtysiy. And Lambecc. v. p. 262. 264. 

3 As also T»p« Hastiludium, Fr. Toitrnoi. And Tou^vsiri/v hastiliidio contendere. 
John Cantacuzenus relates, that when Anne of bavoy, daughter of Amadeus, the fourth carl 
of the AUobrogcs, was married to the emperor Andronicus, junior, the Frankish and Savoyard 
nobles, who accompanied the princess, held tilts and tournaments before the court at Constan- 
tinople; which, he adds, the Greeks learned of the Franks. This was in the year 1326. Hist. 
Byzant. 1. i. cap. 42. But Nicetas say.s, that when the emperor Manuel made some stay at 
Antioch, the Greeks held a solemn tournament against the Franks. This was about the year 
1 160. Hist. Byzant. 1. iii. cap. 3. Cinnamus observes, that the same emperor Manuel altered 
the shape of the shields and lances of the Greeks to those of the Franks. Hist. Byzant. lib. 
iii. Niccphorus Gregoras, who wrote about the year 1340, affirms, that the Greeks learned 
this practice from the Franks. Hist. Byzant. 1. x. p. 339. edit. fol. Gcnev. 1615. The word 
Ka/3aX>.a^(ai, Knights, Chevaliers, occurs often in the liyzantinc historians, even as early as 
Anna Commcna, who wrote about 1140. Alcxiad. lib. xiii. p. 411. And we have in J. Canta- 
cuzenus, ' r«» Y>^\a,f'iut irtifil^i riftntt He conferred the /wnour of )Ln\ghl\iOoi. 


I mean the Greek exiles, I fancied Boccacio might have procured the 
stories of several of his tales in the Decameron : as, for instance, 
that of Cymon and Iphigenia, where the names are entirely Grecian, 
and the scene laid in Rhodes, Cyprus, Crete, and other parts of Greece 
belonging to the imperial territory.^ But, to say no more of this, I 
have at present no sort of doubt of what I before asserted, that 
Boccacio is the writer and inventor of this piece. Our Greek poem is 
in fact a literal translation from the Italian theseid. It consists of 
twelve books, and is written in Boccacio's octave stanza, the two last lines 
of every stanza rhyming together. The verses are of the iambic kind, 
and something like the Versus politici, which were common among 
the Greek scholars a little before and long after Constantinople was 
taken by the Turks, in the year 1443. It will readily be allowed, that 
the circumstance of the stanzas and rhymes is very singular in a poem 
composed in the Greek language, and is alone sufficient to prove this 
piece to be a translation from Boccacio. I must not forget to observe, 
tha t the Greek is extremely barbarous, and of the lowest period of 
that language. 

It was a common practice of the learned and indigent Greeks, 
who frequented Italy and the neighbouring states about the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, to translate the popular pieces 
of Italian poetry, and the romances or tales most in vogue, into 
these Greco-barbarous iambics^. Pastor Fido was thus translated. 
The Romance of Alexander the Great was also translated in the 
same manner by Demetrius Zenus, who flourished in 1 530, under the 
title of A\€^uv8pevs 6 MaKeScuf, and printed at Venice in the year 
1529^. In the veiy year, and »it the same place, when and 
where our Greek poem on Theseus, or Palamon and Arcite, Avas 
printed. Apollonius OF Tyre, another famous romance of the 
middle ages, was translated in the same manner, and entitled 
Airiyrjo-is capaicoTaTr) 'AttoXKcovIov tov iv Tvpa>* prjudba^. The Story of king 

This indeed is said of the Franks. Hist. ut supr. I. iii. cap. 25. And in the Greek poem now under 
consideration one of the titles is, ' JjZs 'i'^or/iKtv &<riui tov; §uo Qril^aiov; KajiaXapious. 
How Thcsetcs dubbed the two Thebaiis Knights. lib. vii. Signatur. »»(;, fol. vers. 

1 Giorn. V. Nov. i. 

2 That is versus politici above-mentioned, a sort of loose iambic. See Langii Philoloci 
GR^co-r..\RBARA. Tzetes's Chiliads are written in this versification. See Du Cange, Gl. Gr. 
ii, coi. 1 196. 

3 Crus. ut supr. p. 373, 399. 4 That is, Rhythmically, Poetically, Gr. Barb. 

5 Du Cange mentions, 'i>i.t<TayXu'rtiX(Jt.oc, a-ro Aa.rivix.Yi; u; "Poif^a'ixnt ^I'/iyriiri; ?roXX«- 
'Ta^oui ' A-ro>.Xuviou rov Tupov? Ind. Auct. Gloss. Gr. Barb. ii. p. 36, col. b. Compare Fabricius, 
Bibl. 821. I believe it was first printed at Venice, 1563. viz. ' Historia ApoIIoniiTyanaii, 
' [Tyrensis] Yen. 1563. Liber Eroticus, Gr. barb, lingua e.varatus ad modum rythmorum nos- 
trorum, rarissimus audit, &c.' Vogt. Catal. libr. rarior. p. 345. edit. 1753. I think it was re- 
printed at Venice, 1696. apud Nicol. Glycem. 8vo. In the works of Velserus, there is 
Narraiio Eoruin quce Apollonio regi accideriint, &c. He says it was first written by some 
Greek author. Yelseri Op. p. 697. edit. 16S2. fol. The Latin is in Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Laud, 39. 
— Bodl. F. 7, 7. And F. 11, 45. In the preface, Velserus, who died 1614, says, that he be- 
lieves the original in Greek still remains at Constantinople, in the library of Manuel 
Eugenicus. Montfaucon mentions a noble copy of this romance, written in the thirteenth 
centuiy, in the royal library at Paris, Bibl. MSS. p. 753. Compare MSS. Langb. Bibl. Bodl. 


Arthur they also reduced into the snme language. The learned Martinus 
Crusius,who introduced the Greco-barbarous language and literature into 
the Gcmian universities, relates, that his friends who studied at Padua 
sent him in the year 1564, together with Homer's Iliad, AtSa^o' Regis 
Arthuri, Alexander above-mentioned, and other fictitious histories 
or story-books of a similar cast^. The French history or romance of 
Bertrand du Guescelin, printed at Abbeville in 1487^, and that 
of Belisaire, or Beliasrius, they rendered in the same language and 
metre, with the titles AiT]yr}(ns f^alperos Be\6dv8pov tov 'Pafxaiov^, and 
'loTopiKi) i^tjyrja-isnepl BeXkia-apiov, &C.* Boccacio himself, in the DeCAM E- 
ron^, mentions the story of Troilus and Cressida in Greek verse : which 
I suppose had been translated by some of the fugitive Greeks with 

vi. p. 15. Ges/a Apollonii, S:c. There is a !RISS. in Saxon of the romance of Apollonius of 
TvRE. Wanley's Catal. apud Hickes, ii, 146. See Martin, Crusii Turco-Gra^c. p. 209. 
1594. Gower recites many stories of this romance in his Cokfessio AmAiNTIS. He calls 
Apollonius ' a yonge, a freshe, a lustie knight.' Lib. viii. fol. 175. b. — 185. a. But he refers 
to Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon, or universal Chronicle, called also Meinorue Sceculorutn 
partly in prose, partly verse, from the Creation of the world, to the year 1186. The author 
died in iigo. 

— A Cronike in daies gone The which is cleped Pantcone, &c. 

fol. 175. a. The play called Pericles Prince of Tvre, attributed to Shakespeare, is taken 
from this story of Apollonius as told by Gower, who speaks the Prologue. It existed in Latin 
before the year 900. See Earth. Aversar. Iviii. cap. i, Chaucer calls him ' of Tyre Apollonius.' 
Prol Man. L. Tale. v. 8t, p.'so. Urr. edit. And quotes from this romance. 

How that the cursid king Antiochus Piirafte his daughter of hir maidinhede. 

That is so horrible a tale to rede. When he her drewe upon the pavement. 

In the royal library there is ' Histoire d'Apollin roy de Thir.'Brit. Mus. MSS. Reg. 20 C, ii. 2. 
With regard to the French editions of this romance, the oldest I have seen is, ' Plaisaiite et 
agreable Histoire d' Apollonius prince de Thyr en Affrique et roy d' Antioch, traduite par 
' Gilles Corozet, Paris, 1530. 8vo. And there is an old back-letter edition, printed in quarto et 
Geneva, entitled, ' La Chronique d' Appollin roy de Thir.' At length the story appeared in a 
modern dress by M. le Brun, under the title of ' Avantures d' Apollonius de Thyr,' printed in 
twelves at Paris and Roterdam, in 1710. And again at Paris the following year. 'In the 
edition of the Gesta Ramanorum, printed at Rouen in 1521, and containing one hundred 
and eighty-one chapters, the history of Apollonius of Tyre occurs, ch. 153. This is the first of 
the additional chapters. 

1 So I translate 'alios id genus minores libcllos.' Crus. ibid. p. 489. Crusius was born in 
1526, and died 1607. 

- At the end of Le Triumphe des neuf Preux, &c. fol. That is. The Nine Worthies. 

3 Du Cange, Gl. Gr. Barb. ii. Ind. Auctor. p. 36, col. b. This history contains Bcltrand's, 
or Bertrand's amours with XovvarZa. Chrysalsa, the king of Antioch's daughter. 

* Lambecc. Bibl. Ca;sar. Lib. v, p. 264. It is remarkable, that the story of Date oboluin 
Belisardo is not in Procopius, but m this romance. Probably Vandyck got this story from a 
modernised edition of it, called Bellis.mre ou le Co7iqucra?it, Paris, 1643. 8vo. Which how- 
ever, is said in the title-page to be taken from Procopius. It was written by the sieur de 

5 They sometimes applied their Greek iambics to the works of the ancient Greek poets. Deme- 
trius Zenus, above-mentioned, translated Homer's '^arfa.yiifji.voix.u.y'La: andNicolausLucanus, 
the Iliad. The first was printed at Venice, and afterwards reprinted by Crusius, Turco-Groec. p. 
373. The latter was also printed at Venice, 1526. apud Sleph. Sabium. This Demetrius 
Zenus is said to be the author of the Ta\iafi,uefiavia,. or Battle of the Cats and Mice. 
Sec Crus. ubi supr. 396. And Fabric. Bibl. Gr. i, 264, 223. On account of the Greco- 
barbarous books which began to grow common, chiefly in Italy, about the year 1520, Stephen 
a Sabio, or Sabius, above-mentioned, the printer of many of them, yjublished a Grcco-barba- 
rous lexicon at Venice, 1527, entitled, ' Corona Pretiosa, 'Elfayuyri no, iTiyoaliouiv/i 
Iri^ecvos ^f/,(ri//.(>s, xyouv "^Ti^aioi r/yii/aj, u7ti fjiuhli a-/a,yivu<r»%iv, ypatpnv, voili, xeci 
XetKi4» TKH lOiOirmnv Keci uttikviv yXuffffnv rnt Vfrnxuiv, iti ii xa) r/i» yfttfjLi/.aTixr,i 
xai T»)» iS/o/r/K*)* yXuaaat tui KoltUoh. It is a mixture of modern and ancient Greek 
words, Latin and Italian. It was rcpri..tcd at Venice by Petrus Burana, 1546. 


whom he was connected, from a romance on that subject ; many 
ancient copies of which now remain in the hbraries of France^ The 
story of Florius and Platzflora, a romance which Ludovicus 
Vives with great gravity condemns under the name of Florian and 
Blanca-Flor, as one of the pernicious and unclassical popular histories 
current in Flanders about the year 1523^. of which there are old 
editions in French, Spanish^, and perhaps Italian, is likewise extant 
very early in Greek iambics, most probably as a translation into that 
language. I could give many others ; but I hasten to lay before my 
readers some specimens both of the Italian and the Greek Palamon 
AND Arcite*. Only premising, that both have about a thousand 
verses in each of the twelve books, and that the two first books are 
introductoiy : the first containing the war of Theseus with the 
Amazons, and the second that of Thebes, in which Palamon and Arcite 
are taken prisoners. Boccacio thus describes the Temple of Mars. 

N e icampi Tracii sotto icieli hyberni 

D a tempesta continua agitati 
D oue schiere di nimbi sempiterni D auenti or qua e or la trasmutati 
I n uarii loghi ne iguazosi uerni E de aqua globi per fredo agropati 

G itati sono eneue tutta uia 

C he in giazo amano aman se induria 

E una selua sterile de robusti C erri doue eran folti e alti molto 

N odosi aspri rigidi e uetusti 

C be de ombra eterna ricopreno il uolto 

D el tristo suolo enfra li antichi fusti 

D i ben mille furor sempre rauolto 
V i si sentia grandissimo romore N e uera bestia anchora ne pastore 

I n questa nide la cha delo idio A rmipotente questa edificata 
T utta de azzaio splendido e pulio D alquale era del fol riuerberata 

1 Lenglet's Bibl. Rom. p. 253. 'Le Roman de Troylus.' And Montfaucon, Bibl. MSS. p. 
752, 793, &c., &c. There is, ' L'Amore di Troleo et Griseida que si tratta in buone parte la 
' Guerra di Troja, d'Angelo Leonico, Ven. 1553.' in Oct. rhyme. 8vo. More will be said of 
this hereafter. 

■- Lud. Viv. de Christiana Femina. lib. i, cap. cui tit. Quinon !egeiidi ScriJ>iores, &c. 
He lived at Bruges. He mentions other romances common in Flanders, Leonela and 
Canamor, Curias and Florela, and Pyramus and Thisbe. 

3 Flores y Blancaflor. Ek Alcala, 1512. 4to. — Histoire Amoreuse de Flores et de 
Blanchefleuk, traduite de I'Espagnol par Jacques Vincent. Paris, 1554. Svo. — Florimont 
et Passeroze, traduite de I'Espagnol en prose Francoise, Lyon, 15 .... Svo. There is a 
French edition at Lyons, 1571. It was perhaps originally Spanish. 'The translation of 
Flores and Blancaflore in Greek iambics might also be made in compliment to Boccacio. 
Their adventures make the principal subject of his Philocopo : but the story existed long 
before, as Boccacio himself informs us, L.' i. p. 6. edit. 1723. P'lores and Blancaflore are 
mentioned as illustrious lovers by Mat/yes Eytnengau de Bezers, a poet of Languedoc, in his 
Breviari d'Amok, dated in the year I2S3. MSS. Reg. 19 C. i. fol. 199. This tale was pro- 
bably enlarged in passing through the hands of Boccacio. See C.\NTERn. T. iy. p. 169 

•^For the use of the Greek Theseid I am obliged to Mr. Stanley, who patronises the studies 
he so well understands. I believe there is but one more copy in England, belonging to Mr. 
Ramsay the painter. Yet I have been told that Dr. George, provost of King's, had a copy. 
The first edition of the Italian book, no less valuable a curiosity, is in the excellent library of 
Dr. Askew. This is the only copy in England. Bibl. Smith. Addend, fol. xl. Venet. 1755. 
4to. I am informed, that Dr. George's hooks, amongst which was the Greek Theseid, wero 
purchased by Lord Spencer. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 233 

L aluce che aboreua il logho rio T utta differro era la stretta entrata 
E le porte eran de eterno admante F crrato dogni parte tutte quante 

E le le colone di ferro custei V ide die lo edificio sosteneano 

L i impcti de menti parue alei V odor che fieri dela porta usiano 

E ilciecho pechare e ogne omei S imilcmcnte quiui si uedeano 

V idiue le ire rosse come focho E la paura palida in quel locho 

E con gli occulti ferri itradimcnti V ide ele insidie con uista apparenza 
L i discordia sedea esanguinenti F erri auea in mano eogni differenza 
E tutti iloghi pareano strepenti D aspre minaze edi crudel intenza 

E n mezo illocho la uertu tristissima 

S edea di degne laude pouerissima 

V ideui ancora lo alegro furore E oltre acio con uolto sanguinoso 
L a morte armata uide elo stupore E ogni altare qui uera copioso 

D i sangue sol ne le bataglie fore D i corpi human cacciato eluminoso 
E ra ciaschun di focho tolto aterre A rse ediffate per le triste guerre 

E t era il tempio tutto historiato'- D i socil mano e disopra edintorno 
E cio che pria ui uide designate E ran le prcde de nocte edi giorno 

T olto ale terre equalunque sforzato 

F u era qui in habito musorno 

V ideanuissi le gente incatenate P orti di ferro e forteze spezate 

V cdcui ancor le naue bellatrici I n uoti carri eli uolti guastati 

E i miseri pianti & infelici E t ogni forza con li aspecti e lati 

O gni ferita ancor si vedea lici E sangue con le tcrre mescolati 

E ogni logo con aspecto fiero S i uedea Marte turbidoe altiero, Scc^. 

The Temple of Venus has these imageries, 

P oi presso ase uidde passar bcllcza 

S enza ornamento alchun se riguardando 
E gir con lei uidde piaccuolleza E luna laltra secho comendano 

P oi con lor uidde istarsi gioueneza 

D cstra e adorna molto festegiando 
E daltra parteuiddeclfoleardire L usingc c ruffiania in sicme gire 

I n mezo el locho in su altc colone 

D i rame uidde un tempio al qual dintomo 

IThus, %TOp!(TfjLara means paintings, properly history-paintings, and !;opi7v and ivisapsTf 
is to /a;«^, in ijarbarous Greek. There are various examples in the Byzantine writers. In 
middle Latinity Ilisioriographtis signifies literally a Painter. Perhaps our Historiographer 
ROYAL was originally the king's ///?<7«/«rt^fn 'la-TofioypcHipo; /jtouffiaTUf occurs in an Inscrip- 
tion published by Du Cange, Dissertat. Joinv. xxvi. p. 319. Where fj^ovrsdrap implies an 
artist who painted in mosaic work called fn,(ivffa.iov, or /iov(rlov Musivum, In the Greek 
poem, before us 'itrcpira, is used for a Painter, lib. ii, 

E« Tr,v •jrapnitrai tw Comi o'kirKt'ix.m 'Itropiraf. In the middle Latin writers we have 
dipvigere \Wi,rijv.\\\.rt?M. To paint luith histories or figures, viz. Forinsccus dealbavit 
illud [delubrum,]intrinsccus autcm f/f//«j-iV historialitcr' Dndo do Act. Norman. 1. iii. p. 
153. Dante uses the Italian word before us in the same sense. Dante, Purgat. Cant x. 

(juivi cr HiSTORiATA 1' alta gloria Del Roman Prince. 

'lartp'ta. frequently occurs, simply for picture or representation in colours. Nilus Monach. 
lib. iv. Epist. 6r. Ka< 'latip'icti tt?)w<w» xou ipiruv xai fiKarrnficcTuv. 'Pictures of 
birds, serpculs, and planu.' And in a thousand other inslaoces. s L. vii. 


D anzando gioucnette uidde e done 
O ual da se belle : e qual de habito adorno 
D iscinte e schalze in giube e in gone 
E in cio sol dispendcano il giorno 
P oi soprael tempio uidde uolitare P assere molte e columbi rugiare 

E alentrata del tempio uicina V idde die si sedeiia piana mente 
M adona pace : e in mano una cortina 
N anzi la porta tenea lieue mente 

A presso lei in uista assai tapina P acientia sedea discreta mente 
P allida ne lo aspecto : e dogni parte 
E intorno alei uidde promesse e carte 

P oi dentro al tempio entrata di sospiri 

V i senti un tumulto che giraua 
F ochoso tutto di caldi desiri Q uesto glialtri tutti aluminaua 

D i noue fiame nate di martiri D i quaciaschun di lagrimcgrondaua 
M osse da una dona cruda e ria C he uidde li chiamata gilosia &c. 

Some of these stanzas are thus expressed in the Greco-barbarous 

Ets TovTOv et'Se toC 6eov, rov olkov tov fieyoKov, 

a7rapiJ,a,Ta ttoWu (TKXrjpa, KTicrpivos ijtov uXos. 
O XoXafiTvpos yap ijTovai, eXapTrev cos rov rjXiov, 

orav 6 tjXlos i'Kpove, acrrprnvTev as tov (peyyos. 
O Tonos oXos eXauTrev, eKTrjv XapTrpoTrjrdvTOV, 

TO ip,7TaTov oXoaidrjpov, Koi tu crTevcopaWtTov. 
Atto 8tapdvTr] Troprearov, rjcrav (cat ra Kapcbia, 

crr]8€pop.evaLs Swara, andnacrav fxepia. 

KoXovais 7]crav aidrjpes, iroXXd ^ovrpes peydXaiSj 

UTrdvcoTovs elBdarevav, oXov tov oikov ksIvov. 
E/Cf iSe rrjv (SovpKOTrjrav, tov Xoyicrpov eKeivcov, 

onoKTTjv TToprav (Byevacri, aypoi koi dvpopevot,, 
Kai TTjv TV(pXrj Trjv upapriav Koi to oval koi oxov 

eKeicre ecpaivovrrjauv, opoiov adv Koi rliXXa. 
Kai Tois opyals eo'KevdrjKfv, KOKivais o)? (jicoTia, 

TOV (f)6l3ov eiSe X6)(Xopov, eKeicre ap-iav p-epiom 

TAiTO. KOi<f)d TCI ai8epa, el8e 8T]prjyep(Tiais, 

Koi Tois (paXaiais irovylvovTai, Kcii poid^ovv diKaiocTOVves. 
EKe^Tov dcTwrj^aaia, perals diacj^coviais, 

el3dcra els to xiprjTris, aidepa paroptva. 
OXos 6 TOTVOS 'ibei^ve, liypios koX xoXiacrpevos, 
dypLovs yap (pofiepiarpovs, KicoporaTriv paXeav. 
I Micra aTov tottov tovtovs, rj ^dprja TV)(epivrj, 

I eKdOfTov 6 TvoTvpiTTe, va evai Traivepevi], 

In passing through Chaucer's hands, this poem has received many 
new beauties. Not only those capital fictions and descriptions, the 

1 Fi-qin which it was thought proper to give one larger specimen, as the language is 
intelligible only to a very few curious scholars. 2 i, . vii_ Sign, u g. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 235 

temples of Mars, Venus, and Diana, with their allegorical paintings, 
and the figures of Lycurgus and Emetrius with their retinue, are so 
much heightened by the bold and spirited manner of the British bard, 
as to strike us with an air of originality^ In the meantime it is to be 
remarked, that as Chaucer in some places has thrown in strokes of his 
own, so in others he has contracted the uninteresting and tedious 
prolixity of narrative, which he found in the Italian poet. And that 
he might avoid a servile imitation, and indulge himself as he pleased 
in an arbitrary departure from the original, it appears that he neglected 
the embarrassment of Boccacio's stanza, and preferred the English 
heroic couplet, of which this poem affords the first conspicuous example 
extant in our language. 

The situation and structure of the temple of Mars are thus des- 

A forrest 

In which there wonneth nether man ne best : 

With knotty knarry barrein treys old, 

Of slubbys sharpe, and hideous to behold, 

In which ther was a rombyll and a swough^. 

As though a storm shoulde burstein every bough. 

And downward from a hill, under a bent-^. 

There stode the temple of Mars armipotcnt, 

1 ' Boccacio's situations and incidents, respecting the lovers, are often inartificial and 
unafFecting. In the Italian poet, Emilia walking in the garden and singing, is seen and 
heard first by Arcite, who immediately calls Palamon. They are both equally, and at the 
same point of time, captivated with her beauty ; yet without any expressions of jealousy, or 
appearance of rivalry'. But in Chaucer's management of the commencement of this amour, 
Palamon by seeing Emilia first, acquires an advantage over Arcite, which ultimately renders 
the catastrophe more agreeable to poetical justice. It is an unnatural and unanimated picture 
which Baccacio presents, of the two young princes violently enamoured of the same object, 
and still remaining in a state of amity. In Chaucer, the quarrel between the two friends, the 
foundation of all the future beautiful distress of the piece, commences at this moment, and 
causes a conversation full of mutual rage and resentment. Tliis rapid transition from a friend- 
ship cemented by every tie, to the most implacable hostility, is on this occasion not only 
highly natural, but produces a sudden and unexpected change of circumstances, which 
enlivens the detail, and is always interesting. Even afterwards, when Arcite is released from 
the prison by Perithous, he embraces Palamon at parting. And in the fifth book of the The- 
SEIDE, when Palamon goes armed to the grove in search of Arcite, whom he finds sleeping, they 
meet on terms of much civility and friendship, and in all the mechanical formality of the 
manners of romance. In Chaucer, thisdialogue has a very dift'erent cast. Palamon at seeing 
Arcite, feels a colde siverde glide throughout his heart : he starts from his ambuscade, and 
instantly salutes Arcite with the appellation of false traitour. And although Boccacio has 
merit in discriminating the characters of the two princes, by giving Palamon the impetuosity 
of Achilles, and Arcite the mildness of Hector ; yet Arcite by Boccacio is here inj jdiciously 
represented as too moderate and pacific. In Chaucer he returns the salute with the same 
degree of indignation, draws his sword, and defies Palamon to single combat. So languid 
is Boccacio's plan of this amour, that Palamon docs not begin to be jealous of Arcite, till he 
Ls informed in the prison, that Arcite lived as a favorite servant with Theseus in diguise, yet 
known to Emilia. When the lovers see Emilia from the window of their tower, she is sup- 
posed by Boccacio to observe them, and not to be displeased at their signs of admiration. 
This circumstance is justly omitted by Chaucer, as quite unnecessary ; and not tending either 
to promote the present business, or to operate in any distant consequences. On the whole, 
Chaucer has eminently shewn his good sense and judgement in rejecting the superfluities, 
and improving the general arrangement, of the story. He frequently corrects or softens 
Boccacio's false manners ; and it is with singular address he has often abridged the Italian 
poet's ostentatious and pedantic parade of ancient history and mythology. 

S Sound. * Precipice. 


Wrought all of burnyd^ stele : of which th' entre 
Was long, and streight, and gastly for to se : 
And therout came such a rage and avyse^ 
That it made al the gatys for to ryse^. 
The northern light in at the doris shone, 
For window on the wall ne was ther none, 
Throgh which men mightin any light dissern. 
The dore was al of adamant eterne, 
Yclenchid overthwart and endelong, 
With iron tough, for to makin it strong. 
Every pillar the tempyl to sustene 
Was tonne grete* of yren bright and shene. 

The gloomy sanctuary of this tremendous fane, was adorned with 
these characteristical imageries. 

There saw I first the dark Ymagining 

Of Felony, and all the compassing : 

The cruel! Ire, redde as any glede^ 

The Pikpurse also, and eke the pale Drede® ; 

The Smyter with the knife undir the cloke'^ ; 

The shepyn brenning with the blake smoke^ ; 

The Treason of the murdering in the bedde^, 

The opin Warre with woundis all bebledde ; 

Conteke^" with bloodie knyves^^, and sharpe Menace, 

All full of chirking^^ was that sory place ! 

The slear of himselfe yet saw I there. 

His herte blode hath bathid all his here, 

The naile ydryven in the shode^^ anyght^*, 

With the cold deth the mouth gapyng uprygh**. 

I Burnished. 2 Noise. 

3 ' It strained the doors : Almost forced them from their hinges.' 

4 K great ton. A ton-weight. 5 Coal. _ ' Fear. 

7 Dryden has converted this image into clerical hypocrisy, under which he takes an oppor- 
tunity of gratifying his spleen against the clergy. Knight's Tale, B. ii. p. 56, edit 1713. 

Next stood Hypocrisy with holy leer. Soft-smiling and demurely looking down, 

But hid the dagger underneath the gown. 

8 Perhaps, for shepyn we should read chepyyt or chephtg, i. e. a town, a place of trade. This 
line is therefore to represent A City on fire. In Wickliffe's bible we have, ' It is lyk to 
children sittynge in Chepynge.' Matt. xi. 16. 

9 Dryden has lowered this image, 

Th' assassinating wife. 

10 Strife. 

II This image is likwise entirely misrepresented by Dryden, and turned to a satire on the 

Contest with sharpened knives in cloysters drawn. 
And all with blood bSspread the holy lawn. 

12 Any disagreeable noise or hollow murmur. Properly, the jarring of a door upon the 
liinges. Chaucer's Boeth. p. 364. b. Urr. edit. ' When the selde cherkitige agrisethe of the 
colde, by the fellnesse of the wind Aquilon.' The original is, ' Vento Campus inhorruit.' 

13 Herd. 1^ In the night. 
15 This couplet refers to the suicide in the preceding one : who is supposed to kill himself 

by driving a nail into his head in the night, and to be found dead and cold in his 
bed, with his 'mouth gapyng upryght.' This is properly the meaning of his 'hair being 
'bathed in blood,' i"/i()<^(.', in the text, is literally a bush of hair. Dryden has finely para- ]t 

phrased this passage. ^ 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 237 

Amiddis of the temple fate Mischaunce, 
With discomfort, and sory countenance. 
Yet sawe I Wodeness^ laughing in his rage. 
Armid complaint of Theft, with fers Corage ; 
The carrein in the bush with throte ycorve^, 
A thousand sleyne and not of qualme ystorve^ 
The tyrant with the prey by force yreft, 
The town destroyid ther was nothing left. 
Yet saw I brent the ships upon steris. 
The hunter straunglid with the wild beris. 
The sow fretting* the chyld right in the cradel. 
The coke scaldid for all his longe ladcl. 
Nought was forgott the infortune of Mart ; 
The cartir^ overridden by his cart", 
Under the whele he lay full lowe adowne. 
There were also of Marts divisoune, 
The Barbour, and the Butcher, and the Smith 
That forgith sharpe swerdis on the stith''. 
And all above, depeintid in a towr, 
Saw I Conquest sitting in grete honour. 
With the sharpe swerde right ovir his hed. 
Hanging but by a subtill-twined thred^. 

This groupc is the effort of a strong imagination, unacquainted with 
selection and arrangement of images. It is rudely thrown on the 
canvas without order or art. In the Italian poets, who describe every 
thing, and who cannot, even in the most serious representations, 
easily suppress their natural predilection for burlesque and familiar 
imager}-, nothing is more common than this mixture of sublime and 
comic idcas^. The form of Mars follows, touched with the impetuous 
dashes of a savage and spirited pencil. 

The^*^ statue of Mars upon a cart^^ stode, 
Armid, and lokid grym as he were wode^^. 
A wolfe ther stod before him at his fete 
With cyin red, and of a man he ete. 

I Madness. 2 Throat cut. 

' ' Slain, not destroyed by sickness, or dying a natural death.' 

* Devouring 5 Charioteer. •> Chariot. 

7 Anvil. 8 V. 1998, p. i6, Urr. 

8 There are many other instances of this mixture, v. 1179. ' We strive as did the houndis 
'for the bone,' v. 1264. 'We fare as he that dronk is as a mouse, &c.' v. 2762. ' Farewel 
'physick! Go bere the corse to church,' v. 2521. ' Some said he lokid grim and he wolde 
'fisht, Sic' 

1'' Form, or figure. Statuary is not implied here. Thus he mentions the statue of Mars on 
a banner, supr. v. 977. I cannot forbear adding in this place these fine verses of Mars armiiig 
himself in haste, from our author's Conplaint 0/ Mars ajid Venus, v. 99. 

He throwith on his hclmc of huge weight ; 
And girt him with his sworde, and in his bond 
His mighty spere, as he was wont to fcight. 
His shckith so, that it almost to wonde. 

Here we see the force of description without a profusion of idle epithets. These verses are all 
sinew: they have nothing but verbs and substantives. 
" Chariot. Vi Mad. 


With sotill pensil was the storie, 

In^ redoubting Mars and of his glorie^. 

But the ground-work of this whole description is in the Thcbaid ol 
Statius. I will make no apology for transcribing the pasj; at large, 
that the reader may judge of the resemblance. Mercury visits the 
temple of Mars, situated in the frozen and tempestuous regions of 

Hie steriles delubra notat Mavortia sylvas 
Horrescitque tuens : ubi mille furoribus ilH 
Cingitur, adverse domus immansueta sub ^mo. 
Ferrea compago laterum, ferro arcta teruntur 
Limina, ferratis incumbent tecta columnis. 
La;ditur adversum Pho;bi jubar, ipsaque sedem 
Lux timet, et dirus contristat sydera fulgor. 
Digna loco static. Primis subit impetus amens 
E foribus, ccecumque Nefas, Irceque rubentes, 
Exanguesque Metus ; occultisque ensibus astant 
Infidice, geminumque tenens Discordia ferrum. 
Innumeris strepit aula minis. Tristissima Virtus 
Stat medio, Isetusque Furor, vultuque crucnto 
Mors armata sedet. Bellorum solus in aris 
Sanguis, et incensis qui raptus ab urbibus ignis. 
Terrarum e uviee circum, et fastigia ternpli 
Captas insignibant gentes, coelataque ferro 
Fragmina portarum, bellatricesque carina;, 
Et vacui currus, protritaque curribus ora''. 

Statius was a favourite writer with the poets of the middk ages. His 
bloated magnificence of description, gigantic images, and pompous dic- 
tion, suited their taste, and were somewhat of a piece with the romances 
they so much admired. They neglected the gentler and genuine graces 
of Virgil, which they could not relish. His pictures were too correctly 
and chastly drawn to take their fancies : and truth of design, elegance 

1 Recording. ^ v. 2043. 

3 C^haucer points out this very temple in the introductory lines, v. 1981. 

Like to the cstries of the grisly place 

That hight the ^cU temple of Mars in Thrace. 

In thiike cold and frosty region, 

Ther as Mars has his sovi-an mansion. 

* Stat. Theb. vii. 4to. And below we have Chaucer's Doors of adamant eterite, viz. v. 6S. 

Clausaeque adamante perenni ' Dissiluere fores. 

Statius also calls Mars, Arinipotens, v. 78. A sacrifice is copied from Statius, where says 
Chaucer, V. 2296. 

And did her thingis as men might behold It Stace of Thches. 

I think Statius is copied in a simile, v. 1640. The introduction of this poem is also taken froir 
the Thcbaid, xii. S45, 481. 797. Compare Chaucer's lines, y. 870, seq. v. 917, seq. v. 996, scq 
The funeral pyre of Arcite is also translated from Theb. vi. 195, scq. See Ch. y. 2940, secj. 
I likewise take this opportunity of observing, that Lucretius and Plato are imitated in tbi» 
poem. Together with many passages from Ovid and Virgil. 


if expression, and the arts of composition were not their objects^. In 
the mean time we must observe, that in Chaucer's Temple of Mars 
many personages are added : and that those which existed before in 
Statius have been retouched, enlarged, and rendered more distinct 
and picturesque by Boccacio and Chaucer. Arcite's address to Mars, 
at entering the temple, has great dignity, and is not copied from 

O stronge god, that in the rcignis cold 
Of Thrace honourid art, and God yhold ! 
And hast in everie reign, and evcrie lond, 
Of armis al the bridii in thy hond ; 
And them fortunist, as they lest devise, 
Accept of me my pitous sacrifice^. 

The following pourtrait of Lycurgus, an imaginary king of Thrace, is 
highly charged, and very great in the gothic style of painting. 

Ther mayst ou-' see, commyng with Palamon, 

Lycurgus himself, the grete king of Thrace ; 

Blake was his berde, and inanly was his face : 

The circles of his eyin in his hede 

They glowdin betwixte yalowe and rede : 

And like a lyon lokid he about. 

With kempid heris on his browis stout : 

His limis grete, his brawnis herd and strong, 

His shulderes brode, his armis round and loi^g. 

And as the guise ywas in his contre 

Full high upon a char of gold stode he : 

With four grete white bullis in the tracis. 

Instead of cote armur, on his harneis 

With yalowe nailes, and bright as any gold, 

He hath a beris* skinn colc-blak for old. 

His long here was kcmped behind his bak. 

As any raven's fether't shone for blak. 

A wrethe of goldc armgrcte^, of huge weight, 

Upon his hed, sett full of stonis bright. 

Of fine rubies, and clcre diamondes. 

About his char ther wcntin white alandes®, 

Twentie and more, as grete as any stere, 

To huntin at the lyon or wild bere ; 

_* In Troilus and Cresside he has translated the arguments of the twelve books of the 
Thcbaid of Statius. See B. v. p. 1479, seq. 

* V. 2375. 3 Vou. 

* A bear's. 5 As big as your arm. 

* Greyhounds. A favourite species of dogs in the middle ages. In the ancient pipe-rolls, 
payments arc frequently made in greyhounds. Rot. Pip. an. 4. Reg. Johann. [a.d. 1203.] 
' kog. Constabul. Cestric debet I). Marcas, ex X. palfridos ct X. iaissas Leporariorum pro 
' habenda terra Vidonis de Loverell de qubus debet rcdderc per ann. c. M.' Ten leashes of 
greyhounds. Rot. Pip. an. 9. Reg. Johann. [a.d. 1208.] ' .Suthant. Johan. Teingre 

debet c. M. ct X. lej^rarios tnagnos, puUhros, et bonos, de redcmlionc sua, &c.' Rot. Pip. 
an. ji. Reg. Johan. [a.d. 1210.J ' Evickveycsire. Rog. de Mallvcll redd. comp. de I. 
' palcfrido velociter currente, et II. Ltisiis leporariorum pro habendis litcris deprccatoriit 
' ad Matildam de M.' I could give a thousand instances of this sort. 


And folowid him with mosil^ fast ybound, 
Coleres of gold^ and torretes^ fiUd* round. 
A hundrid lordis had he in his rout, 
Armid ful wele, with hcrtis stern and stout^ 

The figure of Emetrius king of India, who comes to the aid of 
Arcite, is not inferior in the same style, with a mixture of grace. 

With Arcite, in storys as men find. 
The grete Emetrius, the king of Ind 

1 Muzzle. 

" In Hawes's Pastime of Pleasure, [written temp. Hen. vii.] Fame is attended with 
two greyhounds ; on whose golden collars Grace and Covemaunce, are inscribed in 
diamond letters. See next note. 

3 Rings. The fastening of dogs collars. They are often mentioned in the inventory of 
furniture, in the royal palaces of Henry VI H., above cited. MSS. Harl. 1419. In the 
Castle of Windsor. Article Collars, f. 409. ' Two grcyhoundes collars of crimsun velvett 
' and cloth of gold, lacking torrettes.' — ' Two other collars with the kings amies, and at the 
' ende portcullis and rose.' — ' Item, a collar embrawdered with pomegranates and roses with 
' turrets of silver and gilt.' — 'A collar garnished with stoleworke with one shallop shelle of 
'silver and gilte, with ^o;'?-^;'^^^- and pendauntes of silver and guilte.' — 'A collar of white 
' velvette, embrawdered with perles, the swivels of silver.' — ' But to be more particular as to 
' these imitations.' 

Ver. 900. p. 8. Urr. edit. 

A company of ladys twey and twey, &c. 

* Thus Theseus, at his return in triumph from conquering Scythia, is accosted by the dames 
of Thebes, Stat. Theb. xii. 519. 

Jamque domos patrias, Scythics post aspera gentis 
Praslia, laurigero subeuntem Thesea curru 
Laetifici plausus, &c. &c. 
Paulum et ab insessis moestae Pelopeides aris 
Promovere gradum, seriemque et dona triumph! 
Miraiitur, victique animo rediere mariti. 
Atque ubi tardavit currus, et ab axe superbo 
Explorat causas victor, poscitque benigna 
Aure preces ; orsa ante alias Capaneia conjux, 
Belliger ./Egide, &c. 

Chaucer here copies Statins, (v. 861, — 966.) Kn. T. from v. 519. to v. 600. Theb. See 
also ibid. 465. seq. 

V. 930. p. 9. — Here in the Temple of the goddess Clemence, S:c. 

Si alius mentions the temple of Clemency as the asylum where these ladies were assembled 

T.rfEB. xiL 481. 

Urbe fuit media, nulli concessa potentum 
Ara deum, mitis posuit dementia sedem, &c. 

V. 2947. — Ne what jewillis men into the fire cast, &c. 

Literally from Statins, Theb. vi. 206. 

Ditantur flammae, non unquam opulcntior ilia 
Ante cinis ; crepitant gemma;, &c. 

But the whole of Arcite's funeral is minutely copied from Statins. More than a hundred 
parallel lines on this subject might be produced from each poet. In Statins the account of 
the trees felled for the pyre, with the consternation of the Nymphs, takes up more than 
twenty-four lines, v. 84, — 116. In Chaucer about thirteen, v. 2922. — 2937. In Boccacio, .six 
stanzas. B. xi. Of the three poets, Statins is most reprehensible, the first author of this ill- 
placed and unnecessary description, and who did not live in a Gothic age. The statues of 
ftlars and Venus I imagined had been copied from Fulgeniius, Boccacio's favorite mythogra- 
pher. But Fulgentius says nothing of Mars : and of Vcni i, that she only stood in the sea \^n 
a couch, attended by the Graces. It is from Statius that Theseus became a hero cf 

4 Filed. Highly polished. ^ v. 2129. 


Upon a stede bay, trappid in stele. 

Coverid with clothe of gold diaprid wcl, 

Cam riding like the god of armis Mars : 

His cote armurc was of the clothes of Tars'*-, 

Couchid with pcrles white and round and grete ; 

His sadill was of brent- gold new ybete. 

And mantlet upon his shulderes hanging, 

BretfulP of rubies redde as fire sparkling. 

His crispe here like ringes'* was yronne, 

And yt was yalowe, glittering as the sonne. 

His nose was high, his eyin bright citryn^, 

Ruddy his lippes, his colour was sangyn. 

And a fewe frekles in his face yspreint^, 

Betwixt yalowe and somedele blak ymeint^ 

And as a lyon he his eyis kest^ 

Of five and twenty yere his age I ghest. 

His berde was well begonning for to spring 

His throte was as a trompet thondiring. 

Upon his hede he wered, of laurer grene 

A garloud freshe, and lustie for to sene. 

Upon his honde he bore for his delite 

An egle tame, as ony lilie white. 

An hundrid lordis had he with them there, 

All armid, saaf their heddis, in their gere^. 

About this king ther ran on every part 

Full many a tame lyon, and libart^**. 

The banner of Mars displayed by Theseus, is sublimely conceived. . 

The red statue of Mars, with spere and targe, 
So shineth in his white banner large 
That all the feldis glittrin up and down^"^ 

This poem has many strokes of pathetic description, of which these 
specimens may be selected. 

Upon that other side when Palamon 
Wist that his cosin Arcite was ygon, 
Such sorowe makith he, that the grete tour 
Resoundid of his yelling and clamour : 
The fetteris upon his shinnis grete 
Werin of his bitter salt teris wete^^, 

' Not of Tarsus in Cilicia. It is rather an abbreviation for Tartarin, or Tartarium. See 
Chaucer's Flawre atid Lea/e, v. 212. 

On every trumpe hanging a brodc bannere Of fine Tartarium full richely bete. 

Th.1t it was a costly stuff appears from hence. 'Et ad faciendum unum Jupoun de 
Tartaryn blu pouderat. cum garteriis blu paralis cum boucles et pendants de argcnto 
' dcaurato.' Com. J. Coke Provisoris Magn. Garderob. temp. Edw. lii. ut supr. It often 
occurs in the wardrobe accounts for furnishing tournaments. Du Cange says, that this was a 
fine cloth manufactured in Tartary. Gloij. Tartarium. But Skinner in V. derives it 
from Tortona in the Milanese. He cites Stat. 4. Hen. viii. c. vL 
» Burnt. Bur.nished. 8 Quite full. 4 Rings. 

* L^mon-colour. Lat. Citrinus. •) Sprinkled. 

' 'A mixture of black and yellow." 8 (Jast. Darted. 

• Armour. W Libbard. v. 2157. U V. 977. 12 V. 1277. 



Arcite is thus described, after his return to Thebes, where he des- 
pairs of seeing Emilia again. 

His slepe, his mete, his drink, is hym byreft ; 

That lene he waxith, and drie as a sheft : 

His eyin hollow, grislie to behold 

His hew sallowe, and pale as ashin^ cold : 

Solitary he was, evir alone, 

And wayling all the night making his mone. 

And if he herde song or instrument, 

Than would he wepin, he might not be stent^ 

So febyll were his spirits and so low. 

And chaungid so that no man might hirn know'. 

Palamon is thus introduced in the procession of his rival Arcite's 

Tho gan this wofull Theban Palamon 
With slotery* berde, and ruggy ashey heres, 
In clothis blak bedropped all with teres, 
And, passing ovir wcping Emily, 
Was rufullist of all the company^ 

To which may be added the surprise of Palamon, concealed in the 
forest, at hearing the disguised Arcite, whom he supposes to be the 
squire of Theseus, discover himself at the mention of the name of 

Through his herte 

He felt a cold swerde suddenly to glide : 
For ire he quoke, no longer wold he bide. 
And whan that he had heard Arcitis tale, 
As he were wode, wyth face al dede and pale, 
He sterte him up out of the bushis thick, &c''. 

A description of the morning must not be omitted ; which vies, both 
in sentiment and expression, with the most finished modern poetical 
landscape, and finely displays our author's talent at delineating the 
beauties of nature. 

The meiy lark, messengere of the day, 

Salewith'' in her song the morowe gray ; 

The firie Phebus rysith up so bright. 

That all the orient laughith at the sight* : 

And with his stremis dryeth in the greves' 

The silver dropis hanging in the leves^*^. 

Nor must the figure of the blooming Emilia, the most beautiful 
object of this vernal picture, pass unnoticed. 

1 Ashes. 2 Stayed. 3 V. 1363. * Squallid. 5 V. 2S84. 6 V. 1576. 

7 Saluteth. 

8 In the Greek, Bt;3A.. ili. Signal, ie. jii. 'O ovpavhi 8\os ye\a, &c. See Dante, 
Purgat. c. I. p. 234. For Orient, perhaps Orisount, or the korison, is the true reading. 
So the edition of Chaucer in 1561. So also the barbarous Greek poem on this storj-, O 
Oypai'os oXoi y^Xa., Dryden seems to have read, or to have made out of this misspelling 
of Horison, Orient. 9 Groves. Bushes. W 1^33. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 243 

— Emilie, that fairir was to sene 

Than i? the hlhe upon the stalk grene; 
And freshir than the May with flouiis ncwe, 
For with the rosy colour strofe hir hewe^ 

In other parts of his works he has painted morning scenes conamofe: 
and his imagination seems to have been peculiarly struck with the 
charms of a rural prospect at sun-rising. 

We are surprised to find, in a poet of such antiquity, numbers so 
nervous and flowing : a circumstance which greatly contributed to 
render Dryden's paraphrase of this poem the most animated and har- 
monious piece of versification in the English language. I cannot leave 
the Knight's Tale without remarking, that the inventor of this poem, 
appears to have possessed considerable talents for the artificial con- 
struction of a story. It exhibits unexpected and striking turns of for- / 
tune ; and abounds in those incidents which are calculated to strike 
the fancy by opening resources to sublime description, or interest the 
heart by pathetic situations. On this account, even without consider- 
ing the poetical and exterior ornaments of the piece, we are hardly dis- 
gusted with the mixture of manners, the confusion of times, and the 
like violations of propriety, which this poem, in common with all others 
of its age, presents in almost every page. The action is supposed to 
have happened soon after the marriage of Theseus with Hippolita, and 
the death of Creon in the siege of Thebes : but we are soon transported 
into more recent periods. Sunday, the celebration of matins, judicial- 
astrology, heraldry, tilts and tournaments, knights of England, and 
targets of Prussia^, occur in the city of Athens under the reign of 


Chaucer's Romauntof the Rose is translated from a French poem 
entitled, Le Roman de la Rose. It was begun by William of Lorris, 
a student in jurisprudence, who died about the year 1260'*. Being left 
unfinished, it was completed by John of Mcun, a native of a little town 
of that name, situated on the river Loire near Orleans, who seems to 
have flourished about the year 1310''. This poem is esteemed by the 

1. V. 1037. 

* The knights of the Teutonic order were settled in Prussia, before 1300. Ch. Prol. v. 53. 
Where tournaments in Prussia arc mentioned. Arcitc quotes a fable from iEsop, v. 1179. 

3 Faut.het, p. 198, 

* Id. ibid. p. 200. He also translated Bocthius De Consolatione, and Abelards Letters, 
au)d wrote A tisiuers 0/ tlie '&ybils, Sg'c. 


French the most valuable piece of their old poetry. It is far beyond 
the rude efforts of all their preceding romancers : and they have nothing 
equal to it before the reign of Francis I., who died in the year 
1 547. But there is a considerable difference in the merit of the two 
authors. William of Lorris, who wrote not one quarter of the poem, 
is remarkable for hi^ elegance and luxuriance of description, and is a 
beautiful painter of allegorical personages. John of Meun is a writer 
of another cast. He possesses but little of his predecessor's inventive 
and poetical vein ; and in that respect was not properly qualified to 
finish a poem begun by William of Lorris. But he has strong satire, 
and great liveliness^ He was one of the wits of the court of Charles 
le Bel. 

The difficulties and dangers of a lover, in pursuing and obtaining the 
object of his desires, are the literal arguments of this poem. This 
design is couched under the allegory of a Rose, which our lover after 
frequent obstacles gathers in a delicious garden. He traverses vast 
ditches, scales • lofty walls and forces the gates of adamantine and 
almost impregnable, castles. These enchanted fortresses are all in- 
habited by various divinities ; some of which assist, and some oppose, 
the lover's progress^. 

Chaucer has luckily translated all that was written by William of 
Lorris^: he gives only part of the continuation of John of Meun*. How 

1 The poem consists of 22,734 verses. William of Lorris's part ends with v. 4149. 
' A peu que jc ne m'en desespoir." 

- In the preface of edit, printed in 1538, all this allegory is turned to religion. The Rose 
is proved to be a state of grace, or divine wisdom, or eternal beatitude, or the Holy Virgin, 
to which heretics cannot gain access. It is the white Rose of Jericho, Quasi planiatio 
RoscE in Jericho, ^r'c., Is'c. The chemists, in the mean time, made it a search for the 
philosopher's stone : and other professions, with laboured commentaries, explained it into 
their own respective sciences. 

3 Occ\itx€% Letter of Citpide, written 1402. Urry's Chaucer, p. 536. v. 283. Who calls 
John of Meun the author of the Ro7iiatint of tlie Rose. 

* Chaucer's poem consists of 7,699 verses : and ends with this verse of the original, viz., 
v. 13,105. 

'Vous aurez absolution.' 

But Chaucer has made several omissions in John of Mcun's part, before he comes to this 
period. He has translated all William of Lorris's part, as 1 have observed ; and his trans- 
slatioa of that part ends with v. 4432. viz. 

' Than shuldin I fallin in wanhope.' 

Chaucer's cotemporaries called his Rontant of ilie Rose, a translation Lydgate says that 

-Notably did his business 

Ey grete avyse his wittcs to dispose. 
To traiisiata the Romans of the Rose. 

Pro!. Boch. st. vi. It is manifest that Chaucer took no pains to disguise his translation. IIj 
literally follows the French, in .';.aying, that a river was lessc than 'Saine,' i.e. the Seine at 
Paris. V. 118. 'No wight in all Paris.' v. 7157. A grove has more birds 'than ben in all 
'the relme of Frniiiice, v. 495. He calls a pine, 'A tree in France men c;ill a pine." v. 
1457. He says of roses, 'so faire v.crin nevir in Hone. v. 1674. 'Thai for Paris ne for 
' Pavie.' v. 1654. He has sometimes reference to French ideas, or v,('rcl=;, not in the 
original. As ' Men clepin hem Sereins in France.' v. 684. ' From Jerusalem to Burgoinc?.' 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 245 

far he has improved on the French original, the reader shall judge. I 
will exhibit passages selected from both poems ; respectively placing 
the French under the English, for the convenience of comparison. The 
renovation of nature in the month of May is thus described. 

That it was I\Iay, thus drcmed me^, In time of love and joUite, 
That all thing ginnith waxin gay, For therisneither buskenor hay^ 

In May that it n'ill shroudid bene. And it with newelevis wrcnc-^: 

These wooddis eke recoverin grcne, That drie in winter ben to senc: 

And the crth waxith proude withall 

For sotc dewis that on it fall, 
.\mid the povir estate forgette In whiche that winter had it sette: 

And than bccometh the grounde so proude. 

That it will have a ncwe shroud ; 

And make so quaynt his robe and fayre. 

That it had hewcs an hundred payre, 
OfgrasseandflowrisIndeandPers: And many hcwis ful divers 
That is the robe I mene iwis, Through which thegroimd to praisin is, 
The birdis, that hanleftethirsonge While they hansuffrid cold ful stronge, 
Inwethersgrille^anddasketosight, Ben in May, for the sunne bright 

So glad, &c.'^ 

In the description ot a grove, within the garden of ]\Iirth, are many 

V. 554. 'Greinde Paris.' v. 1369. Where Skinner says, Paris is contracted for Paradise- 
In mentioning minstrels and jugglers, he says, that some of them ' Songin songes of 
' Loraine.' v. 776- He adds, 

For in Loraine there notis be 

Full swetir than in this contre- 

There is not a syllable of these songs, and singers, of Loraine, in the French. By the way, 
I suspect that Chaucer translated this poem while'he was at Paris. 1'here arc also many 
allusions to English affairs, which I suspected to be Chaucer's ; but they are all in tlie French 
original. Such as, ' Hornpipis of Comevaile.' v. 4250. These are called in the original, 
' Chaleraeaux dc Cornouaille. v. 3991. A knight is introduced, allied to king ' Arihour of 
' Brctaigne-' v- 1199- Who is called, ' Hon roy Artus de Bretaigne.' Orig. v. 1187. Sir 
Gawin, and Sir Kay, two of Arthur's knights, are characterised, v. 2206- seq. See Grig. v. 
2124. Where the word Keiilx is corrupt for Kcie- liut there is one passage, in which he 
mentions a Baclielere as fair as ' The Lordis sonne of Windisore- v. 1250- This is added by 
Chaucer, and intended as a compliment to some of his patrons. In \h^ Legende of good 
Women, Cupid says to Chaucer, v. 329. 

For in plain text, withoutin nede of glose, 
Thou hast translatid the Komaunt 0/ tlie Rose. 

1 Qu'on joli moys de May songeoye Ou temps amoreux plcin dejoj'e. 
Que loute chose si s'esgaye. Si qu'il n'y a buissons ne haye 
Qui en May parer ne sc vucille, Et couvrir de nouvelle sueille : 
Les boys rccouvrent leur verdure. Qui sent sees lant qui I'hiver dure ; 
La terre mcsmes s'en orgouille I'our la rougee qui ta mouille. 

En oublian la povrete Ou elle a tout I'hiver cste ; 

Lors devicnt la terre si gobe, Qu'elle vcult avoir neusve robe ; 

Si sect si cointe robe faire. Que de couieurs y a cent paire, 

D'hcrbcs, dc flcurcs Indes and Perses : Et de maintes couieurs diverses 

Est la robe que Je devise Parquoy la terre miculx se prise. 

Les oLscaulx qui tant sc sont teuz Pour I'hiver qu'ils ont tous sentuz, 

Et pour le froit et divers temps, Sont en May, et par la printcmps. 

Si liez, &c. V. 51- 

2 Bush, or hedge-row. Sometimes wood. Kot- Pip an 17' Il'cn iii. ' Et Hcremitac 
* sancti Edwardi in Itaga dc Birchcnwude, xl- soL' 

3 Hide. Vxwa.Virie.mwrey.lo cover- 

<Cold.- ■•v'Sil 


natural and picturesque circumstances, which are not yet got into the 
storehouse of modern poetry. 

These trees were sett as I devised One from another in a toise, 

Five fadoni or sixe, I trowe so, But they were hie and gret also ; 

And for to kepe out wel the sunne, The croppis were so thik ymnne-, 

And everie branch in othir knitte And ful of grene levis sitte^, 

That sunne might ther none discende Lest the tendir grassis shende*. 

Ther might men does and roes ise**, And of squirels ful grete plente, 

From bow to bow alwaie lepinge ; Connis " ther were also playing^. 

That comin out of ther clapers*, Of sondrie colors and maners ; 

And madin many a turneying Upon the freshe grasse springing^. 

Near this g^ove were shaded fountains without ■ frogs, running into 
murmuring rivTilets, bordered with the softest grass enamelled with 
various flowers. 

In placis sawe I wellis there^^ In whiche ther no froggis were, 

And faire in shadow was eche wel ; But I ne can the nombre tel 

Of stremis smale, that by devise 

Mirth had don com thorough condise^^. 
Of which the watir in renning, Gan makin a noise ful liking. 

About the brinkis of these wellis, And by the stremes ovir al ellis 
Sprange up the grasse as thick isett And soft eke as any velvett. 

On which man might his leman ley 

As softe as fetherbed to pley. — 

There sprange the violet all newe. 

And fresh perwinke ^^ riche of hewe ; 

And flouris yalowe white and rede, 

Such plenti grew ther ner in mede : 

Full gaie was al the grounde and queint 

And poudrid, as men had it peint, 

1 Mais sachies que les arbres furent Si loing a loing comme estre durent 

L'ung fut de I'autre loing assis De cinque toises voyre de six, 

Mais moult furent fueilluz et haulx Pour gardir de Teste le chaulx, 

Et si espis par dessus furent Que chaleurs percer ne lis peuvent 

Ne ne povoient has descendre Ne faire mal a I'erbe tendre. 

Au vergier eut dains & chevreleux, Et aussi beaucoup d'escureux. 

Qui par dessus arbres sailloyent ; Conuins y avoit qui yssoient 

Bien souvent hors de leurs tanieres, En moult de diverses manieres, v. 1368. 

2 'The tops, or boughs, were so thickly twisted together.' 

3 Set. 4 Be hurt. 5 See. 6 Conies. 

7 Chaucer imitates this\n the A sse>;:6/e p/FouUs, v. 190, seq. Other passages of 
that poem are imitated from Roman de la Rose. 

8 Burroughs. ^ v. I3gi. 

10 Par lieux y eut cleres fontaines. Sans barbelotesl and sans raines, 

Qui des arbres estoient umbrez, Par moy ne vous seront nombrez, 

Et petit ruisseaulx, que Deduit . Avoit la trouves par conduit ; 

L'eaue alloit aval faisant Son melodieux et plaisant. 

Aux bortz des ruisseaulx et des rives, _ Des fontaines cleres et vives 

Poignoit I'erbe dru et plaisant ' Grant et plaisir faisant. 

Amy povoit avec sa mye Soy deporter ne'r doubte.-: mye; — 

Violette y fut moult belle Et aussi parvenche nouvelle ; 

Fleurs y eut blanches et vermeilles, Ou ne pourroit trouver pareilles, 

De toutes diverses couleurs, De haulx pris et de grans valeurs. 

Si estoit soef flairans Et iefl.agrans et odorans, v. 13+8. 

11 Conduits. 1- Periwinkle. 

1 A species of insect often found in stagnant water. 



With many a fresh and sondry floure 
That castin up ful gode savoure^. 

But I hasten to display the pecuHar powers of William de Lorris in 
delineating allegorical personages ; none of which have suffered in 
Chaucer's translation. The poet supposes, that the garden of Mirth, or 
rather Love, in which grew the Rose, the object of the lover's wishes 
and labours, was enclosed with embattled walls, richly painted with 
various figures, such as Hatred, Avarice, Envy, Sorrow, Old Age, and 
Hypocrisy. SoiTow is thus represented. 

SORROWE was pantid next Envie^ Upon that wal of masonrie. 
But wel was seen in her colour. That she had livid in languour ; 

Her seemid to have the jaundice, Not half so pale was Avarice. 

Ne nothing alike of lenesse 

For sorowe, thought, and grete distresse. 
A s'rowful thing wel semid she ; Nor she had nothing slow ybe 

For to bescrachin Of hir face. And for to rent in many place 

Hir clothes, and for to tere her swire", 

As she that was fulfilled of ire : 

And al to torn lay eke hir here: 

About hir shoulders, here and there ; 
As she that h^d it all to rent For angre and for male talent*. 

Nor are the images of Hatred and Avarice inferior. 
Amiddis sawe I Hate ystynde^- 

And she was nothing wel araide 
Yfrowncid foule was hir visage, 
Her nose ysnortid up for tene'* 
Full foul and rustey was she this, 

But like a wode woman afraide : 
And grinning for dispiteous rage, ' 
Full hideous was she fortosene, 
Her hed iwrithin was iwis, 

Full grimly with a grete towaile, &c''. 

The design of this work will not permit me to give the portrait of 
Idleness, the portress of the garden of Mirth, and of others, which form 
the groupe of dancers in the garden: but I cannot resist the pleasure 
of transcribing those of Beauty, Franchise, and Richesse, three capital 
figures in this genial assembly. 

- V. 1411. 

2 De les Envie etoit Tristesse 

El bien paroit a sa couleur 
Et semb'.oit avoir la jaunice, 
Le palisseur ne de maigresse 
Moull sembloit bien que fust dolente ! 
D'csgratignicr toute sa chiere; 
En mains lieux I'avoit dessiree, 
.Scs chevculx derompus cstoient, 
Presque Ics avoit tous desroux 

3 Neck. 

5 Au milieu de mur je vy Havne. 
Si n'estoit pas bien alouJnee, 
Recliignec estoit et fronce 
Moult lii^cuse csioit et souillee 
Trcs or(>£mcDt d'un touaillc, 

• Anger. 

Painte aussi et garnye d'angoisse. 
Qu'elle avoit a cueur grant doulcnrt 
La n"y faisoit riens Avarice, 
Car le travaile et la destresse, & , 
Car el n'avolt pas cste lente 
Sa robe ne luy estoit chiere 
Comme culle qui fut yree. 
Qu'autour de son col pendoient, 
L)e maltalent et de corroux, v. 3c ». 
■* V. 300. 

Ains sembloit cstre forcence. 
Avoit Ic nez et rebourse. 
Et fut sa teste cntortillee 
Qui moult estoit d'horrible taille. 
7 V. 147. 


The God of love, jolife and light*, Ladde on his hande a ladie bright, 
Of high prise, and of gret degre This ladie called was Beautie. 
And an arowe, of which I told, Full well ythewid- was she holde : 
Ne was she darke ne browne, but bright, 
And clere as is the mone light. — 
Her fleshe was tendre as dewe of floure, 
Her chere was simple as birde in boure : 
As white as lilie, or rose in rise^, Her face was gentil and tretise* ; 
Fetis" she was, and smal to se. No wintrid^ browis hedde she ; 

Nopopped^ here, for'tneded nought To windir^ her ortopeint ought. 
Her tresses yalowe and long straughten^ 
Unto her helis down the ^'^raughten*'^. 
Nothing can be more sumptuous and superb than the robe, and 
other ornaments, of RiCHESSE, or Wealth. They are imagined with 
great strength of fancy. But it should be remembered, that this was 
the age of magnificence and shew ; when a profusion of the most 
splendid and costly materials were lavished on dress, generally with 
little taste and propriety, but often with much art and invention. 

RiCHESSE a robe of purpre on had^^, 
Ne trow not that I lie or mad'^, 

1 Le Dieu d'amours si s'estoit A une dame de hault pris, 

Pres se tenolt de son coste Celle dame eut nom Beaulte. 

Ainsi comme une des cinque flesches En ille aut toutes bonnes taiches : 

Point ne fut obscur, ne brun, Mais fut clere comme la lune. — 

Tendre eut la chair comme rousee. Simple fut comme une espousee. 

Et blanch comme fleur de lis. Visage eut bel doulx et alis, 

Elle estoit gresle et alignee N'estoit fardie ne pignee 

Car elle n'avoit pas mestier De soy farder et affaictier. 

Les cheveulx ent blons et si longs Qu'ils batoient aux talons, v. 1004. 

2 Having good qualities. See supr. v. 939, seq. 

3 On the bush. Or, In perfection. Or, A budding rose. 

•* Well proportioned. 5 FeitoHS. Handsome. 6 Contracted. 

7 Affectedly dressed. Properly, dressed up like a pjippet. 

" To trim. To adorn. S* Stretched. Spread abroad. 

1" Reached. H v. 1003. 

12 Dp pourpre fut le vestement A Richesse, si noblement, 

Qa'en tout le monde n'eust plus bel, Mieulx fait, ne aussi plus nouvel: 

Pourtraictes y furent d'orfroys Hystoryes d'empereurs et roys. 

Et encores y avoit-il Un-ouvrage noble et sobtil ; 

A noyaulx d'or au col fermoit, Et a bendes d'azur tenoit : 

Noblement eut le chief pare De riches pierres decore 

Qui gettoient moult grant clarte, Tout-y estoit bien assorte. 

Puis eut une riche sainture Sainte par dessus sa vesture : 

Le boucle d'une pierre fu, Grosse et de moult grant vertu 

Celluy qui sur soy le protoit De tons venins garde estoit. — 

D'autre pierre fut le mordans Qui guerissbit du mal des dens. 

Cest pierre portoit bon cur, Qui I'avoit pouvoit estre asseur 

De sa sante et de sa vei. Quant a jeun il I'avoit vei : 

Les cloux furent d'or epure. Par dessus le tissu dore, 

Qui estoient grans et pesans, , En chascun avoit deux besans. 

Si eut avecques a Richesse * Uns cadre d'or mis sur la tresse. 

Si riche, si plaisant, et si bel, Qu'onques ou ne veit le pareil : 

De pierres estoit fort garny, Frecieuscs et aplany. 

Qui bien en vouldroit deviser, On ne les pouvroit pas priser 

Rubis, y eut saphirs, jagonces, Esmerandes plus de cent onces: 

Mais devant eut par grant maistrise, Un escarboucle bien assise 

Et le pierre si clere estoit Que cil qui devant la mettoit 

Si en povoit veoir au besoing A soy coiiduire une lieue loing, 

Telle clarte si en yssoit Que Richesse en resplandissoit 

Par tout le corps et par sa face Aussi d'autour d'elle la place, v. 1066. 

13 That I lie, or am mad.' 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 249 

For in this world is none it lichees Ne by a thousand dele^ so riche, 
Ne none so faire : For it full wcle With orfraics" laid was cverie dele, 
And purtraied in the ribaninges* Of dukis stones and of kingc: ; 
And with a bcnd^ of gold tassiled, And knoppis" fine of gold amiled''. 
About her neck, of gentle entaile**, Was set the riche chevesaile^ ; 
In which ther was ful grete plente Of stonis clere and faire to se. 
RiCHESE a girdle had upon The bokill^" of it was of ston 

Of vertu grete and mokill^"- might, For who so bare the ston so bright 
Ofvenimdurst him nothingdoubt While he the ston had him aboui.— 

The mordaunt^- wrought in noble guise 
Was of a ston ful precious, That was so fin and vertuous 

That whole a man it couth ymake Of palsie, and of the tothe ake : 
And yet the ston had soche a grace That he was sikre^^ in evvrie place 
All thilke dale not blinde to bene That fasting might that ston sene. 
The ban is^* were of gold full fine Upon a tissue of sattin, 
Full hevie, grete, and nothinglight, In everiche was a besaunt wight^^ 
Upon the tressis of Richesse, W' as sett a circle of noblesse. 

Of brende^'' gold, that full light yshone, 

So faire, trowe I, was nevir none. 

1 Like. ' Parts. 

3 Embroidery in gold. 4 Laces laid on robes. Embroideries. 

5 Baiid. Knot. " Kiiobbs. Buitons. 

7 Eiiaiiicled. Enameling, and perhaps pictures in enamel, were common in the middle ages. 
From the Testament of Joh. de -Foxle, knight, Dat. apud Branxshill Co. Southampt. Nov. 5, 
1378. ' Item lego domino abbati de Walthara unum annulum auri grossi, cum una saphiro 
' infi-va, et nominibus trium regum [of Cologne] sculptis in eodem annulo. Item lego Mar- 
' garite sorori mee unam tabulam argenti deaurati et ainelitatn, minorem de duabus quas 
' habeo, cum diversis ymaginibus sculplis in eadem. — Item lego Margerie u.\ori Johannis de 
' Wilton unum monile auri, cum S. litera sculpta et amelita in eodem." Registr. Wykeham, 
Episc. Winton, P. ij. fol. 24. See also Dugd. Bar. i. 234, a. 'Amiled is from the French 
' Email, or Enamel. This art flourished most at Limoges in France. So early as the year 
1197, we have ' Duas tabulas a;neas superauratas de labore Liinogue.' Chart, ann. ii97,apud 
Ughelin. torn. vii. Ital. Sack. p. 1274. It is called Opus Letiinoviticum, in Dugdale's MoN. 
iiL 310, 313, 331. And in Wilkin's Concil. i. 666, where two cabinets for the host are 
ordered, one of silver or of ivory, and the other de opere Leinovicuw. .Svnod. Wigorn. a.d. 
1240. And in many other places. I find it called Liinaise, ia a metrical romance, the name 
of which I liave forgot, where a tomb is described. 

And yt wa.s, the Romans sayes. All with golde and limaise. 

Carpentier [V. Limogia.] observes, that it was anciently a common ornament of sumptuouii 
tombs. He cites a Testament of the year 1327, ' Je lais huit cent livres pottr faire deux 
' tombes Jiaiites et levees de /"Euvre de Li.moges.' I'he original tomb of Walter de Merton, 
bishop of Rochester, erected in his cathedral about the year 1276, was made at ijmoges. 
This appears from the accompts of his executors, viz. ' Et computant xl 1. v s. vi d. liberat. 
' Magisiro Johanni Linnomccnsi, pro tumba dicti Episcopi Roffensis, scil. pro Constructione 
' et carriagio de Lymoges ad Roffam. Et xl s. viii d. cuidam Executori apud Lymoges ad 
'ordinandum et providcndum Constructionem dicta; Tumba;. Et x s. viii. d. cuidam garcioni 
' eunti apud Lymoges quasrenti dictam tumbam constructam, ct ducenti earn cum dicto Mag. 
' Johanne uscjue Roffam. Et xxii 1. in materialibus circa dictam tumbam defricandam. Et 
'vii marcas, in ferramento ejusdem, et carriagio a Londin. usque ad Roff. et aliis parandis ad 
' dictam tumbam. Et xi s. cuidam vitriario pro vitris fenestrarum emptarum juxta tumbam 
'dicti Eispcopi apud Roflam.' Ant. Wood's MSS. Merton Pai-ers, Bibl. Bodl. Cod. 
Dallard 46. 

8 Of good workmanship, or carving. From /ntagii'are, Ital. » Necklace. 
10 Buckle. 11 MuckeL Great. 

IS Tongue of a buckle. Mordeo. Lat. 13 Certain. 

*■• I cannot give the preci-sc meaning of Barns, nor o( Cloux in the French. It seems to be 
part of a buckle. In the wardrobe-roll, quoted abo've, arc menliuncd, ' One hundred garters 
■ cum boucles, liarris, ct pedcntihus argento.' for which were delivered, ' ccc barrs argenti.' 
An. 21, Edw. iii. 

1* ' The wci„'ht of a bcsant.' A byzant was a species of gold-coin, stamped at Byzantium. 
A wedge of gold. 10 Burnished. 


Rut hewerekonningforthenones^ That could devisin all the stones, 
That in the circle shewin clere, It is a wonder thing to here : 

For no man could or preis^, or gesse, 

Of hem the value or richesse : 

Rubies ther were, saphirs, ragounces^, 

And emeraudes more than two ounces : 
But all before full subtilly A fine carboncle set sawe I : 

The stone so clear was and so bright, 

That al so sone as it was night, 
Men mightin se to go for nede, A mile or two, in length or brede ; 

Soche light ysprang out of the stone, 

That Richesse wondir bright yslione 
Both on her hedde and all hir face And eke about her all the place*. 

The attributes of the portrait of Mirth are very expressive. 

Of berde unnethe had he nothing^. For it was in the firste spring : 
Ful young he was and merie' of thought. 
And in samette'' with birdis wrought. 

And with goldebete ful fetously. His bodie was clad full richely ; 
Wrought was his robe in straunge gise, 

1 'Well-skilled in these things.' ^ Afipraise. Value. 

3 The gem called a Jacinth. We should read in Chaucer's text, yagonces instead of 
Ragounces, a word which never existed ; and which Speght, who never consulted the French 
Roman de la Rose, interprets inerely from the sense of the context, to be ' A kind of precious 
' stone.' Gloss. Ch. in V. The knowledge of precious stones was a grand article in the natural 
philosophy of this age : and the medical virtue of gems, alluded to above, was a doctrine much 
inculcated by the Arabian naturalists. Chaucer refers to a treatise on gems, called the 
Lapidiarv, famous in that time. House of Fame, L. ii. v. 260. 

And thei were sett as thicke of ouchis 
Fine, of the finist stonis faire That men redin in the Lapidaire. 

Montfaucon, in the royal library at Paris, recites ' Le Lapidaike, de la vertu des pierres.' 
Catal. IMSS, p. 794. This I take to be the book referred to by Chaucer. Henry of Hunting- 
don wrote a book De Geinmis. He flourished about 1145. Tann. Bibl. p. 395. Greek Trea- 
tise, Du Cange, Gloss. Gr. Barb. ii. Ind. Auctor, p. 37, col. i. In the Cottage library is a Saxon 
Treatise on precious stones. Tieber. A 3, liii. fol. 98. The writing is more ancient than the con 
quest. Pellouter mentionsa Latin poem of the eleventh century on Precious Stones, written by Mar- 
bode bishop of Rennes, and soon afterwards translated into French verse. ]\Iem. Lang. 
Celt, part i. vol. i. ch. xiii. p. 26. The translation begins, 

Evax fat un mult riche reis Lu reigne tint d'Arabeis. 

It was printed in Oeuvres de Hildebert Eveque du Mons, edit. Ant. Beaugendre, col. 1638. 
This m^ be reckoned one of the oldest pieces of French vesiflcation. A manuscript De 
Speciebifs Lapidum, occurs twice in the Bodleian library, falsely attributed to one Adam Nid- 
zarde. Cod. Digb. 28, f 169.— — Cod. Laud. C. 3, Princ. ' Evax rex Arabum legitur scrip- 
sisse.' But it is, I think, Marbode's book above-mentioned. Eva.x is a fabulous Arabian 
king, said to have written on this subject. Of this Marbode, or IMarbodaous, see Ol. Borrich. 
Diss. Acad, de Poet. pag. 87. § 78, edit. Francof 1683, 410. His poem was published, with 
notes, by Lampridius Alardus. The e.a.stern writers pretend, that king Solomon, among a 
variety of physiological pieces, wrote a book on Gems : one chapter of which treated of those 
precious stones, which resist or repel evil Genii. They suppose that Aristotle stole all his 
philosophy from Solomon's books. Fabric.'Bibl. Gr. xiii. 387, seq. And i. p. 71. Compare 
Herbelot, Bibl. Oriental, p. 962, b. Artie. 'K.e.-tab alahgiar, seq. 
4 . V. 1071 

6 Et si n'avoit barbe a menton Si non petit poll follaton ; 

II etoit jeimedamoy.saul.\ Son bauldrier sut portrait d'oiseaulx 

Qui tout etoit e or batu, Trcs richement estoit vestu 

D'un' robe moult desgysee, Qui fut en maint lieu incisee, 

Et decouppee par quointise, Et fut par mignotise 

D'un souliers decouppes a las Par joyeusete et soulas, 

Et sa neye luy fist chapeau De roses gracieux et beau. v. 832. 

* Samite. Sattin. Explained above. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POTRY. 25 1 

And all to slittcred^ for quientise, 
In many a place lowe and hie, And shod he was, with gretemaistrie, 

W^ith shone decopid- and with lace, By drurie^ and eke by solace ; 
His lefe^ a rosin chapelet Had made and on his hedde it set^ 

Franchise is a no less attractive portrait, and sketched with equal 
grace and delicacy. 

And next him daimsid dame Franchise^, 

Arayid in ful noble guise. 
Shen'asnotbrounenedunneofhewe, But white as snowe ifallin newe, 
Hernosewaswroughtatpoint devise", For it was gentill and tretise ; 
With eyin glad and browis bent, Her hare down to her helis went* : 
Simple she was as dove on tre, Ful debonaire of hart was she^. 

The personage of Danger is of a bolder cast, and may serve as a 
contrast to some of the preceding. He is supposed suddenly to start 
from an ambuscade ; and to prevent Bialcoil, or Kind Reception^ from 
permitting the lover to gather the rose of beauty. 

With that anon out start Dangere^", 
Out of the place where he was hidde ; 
His malice in his chere was kiddc^^ ; 
Full grete he was, and blacke of hewe, 
Sturdie and hideous whoso him knewe ; 
Like sharpe urchons^" his heere was grov 
His eyes red sparcling as fire glow, 
His nose frouncid^^ full kirkid^^ stoode, 
He come criande^^ as he were woode^^ 

1 Cut and slashed. 

2 Cut or marked with figures. From Decouper, Fr. To cut. Thus the parish clerk Absolon, 
in the Miller's Tale, v. 210. p. 26, Urr. 

With Poulis windowes carven on his shose. 

I suppose Poulis U'indmves was a cant phrase for a fine device or ornament 

3 Modesty. 4 Mistress. * v. 833. 

6 Apres tous ceulx estoit Franchise, Que ne fut ne bnine ne bise ; 

Ains fut comme la neige blanche Courtoise estoit, joyeuse et franche, 

Le nez avoit long et tretis, Yeulx vtrs rins, soureils saitis, 

Les cheveulx eut tres-blons et longs, Simple feut comme les coulous. 

Le cueur eut doul.x et debonnaire, v. 1190. 

7 With the utmost exactness. 

8 All the females of this poem have grey eyes and yellow hair. One of them is said to have 
' Her eycn graie as is a faucon.' v. 546. Where the original word, translated .s^raie, is vers. v. 
546. We have thus colour again, Orig. v. 822. ' Les yeulx cut zvrs.' This too Chaucer 
translates, ' Her eyin graie,' 862. The same word occurs in the French text before us, v. 
1 195. This comparison was natural and beautiful, as drawn from a very familiar and favourite 
object in the age of the poet. Perhaps Chaucer means ' grey as a falcon's eyes.' 

" v. 1211 

i* A tant saillit villain Dangere, De la on 11 estoit muee ; 

Grant fut, noir et tout hence S'ot, les yeulx rouges comme feux, 

Les vis froncc, le nez hydciix Est scene tout forcenez. v. 2959. 

11 ' Was discovered by his behaviour, or countenance.' Perhaps we should read cheke, 
for chere. 1'- Urchins. Hedge-hogs. 

13 Contracted. ** CroolitJ. Turned upwards. 

1' ' Crying as if he was mad.' ^^ v. 3130. 


Chaucer has enriched this figure. The circumstance of Danger's 
hair standing erect Hke the prickles on the urchin or hedge-hog, is 
his own, and finely imagined. 

Hitherto specimens have been given from that part of this poem 
which was written by William de Lorris, its first inventor. Here Chaucer 
was in his own walk. One of the most striking pictures in the style of 
allegorical personification, which occurs in Chaucer's translation of 
the additional part, is much heightened by Chaucer, and indeed owes 
all its merit to the translator ; whose genius was much better adapted 
to this species of painting than that of John of Meun, the continuator 
of the poem. 

With her. Labour and eke Travailed 
Lodgid bene, with Sorowe and Wo, That nevir out of her court go, 

Pain and Distresse, Sicknesse and Ire, 

And Melanc'ly that angry sire, 

Ben of her palais- senators ; 

Groning and Gmtching her herbegeors^ ; 
The day and night her to tourment, With cruill deth their he present, 

And tellin her erliche* and late. 

That Deth stondith armid at her gate. 
Then bring they to remembraunce, The foly dedes of hir enfance^ 

The fiction that Sickness, Melancholy, and other beings of the like 
sort, were counsellors in the palace of Old Age, and employed in 
telling her day and night, that ' Death stood afmed at her gate,' was 
far beyond the sentimental and satirical vein of John of Meun, and is 
conceived with great vigour of imagination. 

Chaucer appears to have been early struck with this French poem. 
In his Dreme, written long before he began this translation, he sup- 
poses, that the chamber in which he slept vVas richly painted with the 
story of the RoMAUNT OF THE Rose''. It is natural to imagine, that 
such a poem must have been a favourite with Chaucer. No poet, 
before William of LoitIs, either Italian or French, had delineated 
allegorical personages in so distinct and enlarged a style, and with such 
a fullness of characteristical attributes : nor had descriptive poetry 
selected such a variety of circumstances, and disclosed such an exuber- 
ance of embellishment, in forming agreeable representations of nature. 
On this account, we are surprised that Boilcau should mention Villon 
as the first poet of France who drew form and order from the chaos of 
the old French romancers. 

1 Travaile et douleur la hebergent, Mais il le lient et la chargcnt. 

Quo mort prochaine luy presentent, Et talent de seq repentir ; 

Tant luy sont de fleaux sentir ; Adonc luy vient en remembraunce. 

En cest tardifvc presence. Quant et se voit foible et cheuue. v. 4733. 

2 Palace. ^ Chaniberlains. 

4 Early. v. 4^94. 

6 V. 322. Chaucer alludes to this poem in The Marchaunt's Tale, v. 1548. p. 72. Urr. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 253 

Villon sceut le Premier, dans ces siecles grossiers 
Dcbrouiller I'art confus de nos vieux romanciers^ 

But the poetry of William of Lorris was not the poetry of Boileau. 

That this poem should not please Boileau, I can easily conceive. It 
is more surprising that it should have been censured as a contemptible 
performance by Petrarch, who lived in the age of fancy. Petrarch 
having desired his friend Guy de Gonzague to send him some new 
piece, sent the Roman de la Rose. With the poem, instead of an 
encomium, he returned a severe criticism ; in which he treats it as a 
cold, inartificial, and extravagant composition : as a proof, how much 
France, who valued this poem as- her chief work, was surpassed by 
Italy in eloquence and the arts of writing^. In this opinion we must 
attribute something to jealousy. But the truth is, Petrarch's genius 
was too cultivated to relish these wild excursio^is of imagination : his 
favourite classics, whom he revived, and studied with so much attention, 
ran in his head. Especially Ovid's Art of Love, a poem of another 
species, and evidently formed on another plan ; but which Petrarch 
had been taught to venerate, as the model and criterion of a didactic 
poem on the passion of love reduced to a system. We may add, that 
although the poem before us was founded on the visionary doctrines 
and refinements concerning love invented by the Provencal poets, 
and consequently less unlikely to be favourably received by Petrarch, 
yet his ideas on that delicate subject were much more Platonic and 
more metaphysical. 


Chaucer's poem of Troilus and Cresseide is said to be formed on 
an old history', written by Lollius, a native of Urbino in Italy^. Lydgate 
says, that Chaucer, in this poem, 

'- made a translacion 

Of a boke which called is Trophe 
Of Lumbarde tongue, &.c\ 

1 Art. Poet. ch. j. He died about the year 1456. 

2 See Petrarch. Carm. L. i. Ep. 30. 

3 Petriis Lambcccius cnumerous Lollius Urbicus among the Historici Laiiiii prfl/ant oiiha 
third century. Prodrom. p. 246, Hamb. 1659. See also Voss. Historic. Latin, ii, 2, p. 163. 
edit. Ludg. liat. but this could not be Chaucer's Lollius. Chaucer places Lollius among 
the historians of Troy, in his house of Fame, iii. 380. It is extraordinary, that Du Fresne, in 
the Index Aiicloriiiii, used by him for his Latin glo.ssary, should mention this Lollius Urbicus 
of the third century. Tom. i, p, 141, edit. i. As 1 apprehend, none of his works remain. 
A proof that Chaucer translated from some Italian original is, that in a MSS. which I have 
seen of this poem, 1 find, MonatnoioT Meitcstcs, Riifiltco [ut Ru/>/ies, PJiel/iisco ior P/icbiises, 
lib. iv, 50, seq. Where, by the way, Xantippe, a Trojan chief, was perhaps corruptly written 
for Xantippo, i. e. Xaniippus. As Joseph. Iscan. iv. 10. In Lydgatc's Troy, ZantipJnts, 
iii. 26. All corrupted from Antiphus, IJict. Crct. p. 105. In the printed copies we liave 
Ascalnplio for Ascalaphus. lib. v. 319. 

* Prol. Uoch. St. iii. 


It is certain that Chaucer, in this piece, frequently refers to * Myne 
aUCTOR Lollius^.' But he hints, at the same time, that Lollius wrote 
in Latin^. I have never seen this history, either in the Lombard or 
the Latin language. I have before observed, that it is mentioned in 
Boccacio's Decameron, and that a translation of it was made into 
Greek verse by some of the Greek fugitives in the fourteenth centurj'. 
Du Fresne, if I mistake not, somewhere mentions it in Italian. In 
the royal library at Paris it occurs often as an ancient French romance. 
' Cod. 7546. Roman de Troilus.' — ' Cod. 7564. Roman de Troilus et 
de Briseida ou Criseida.' — Again, as an original work of Boccacio. 
' Cod. 7757. Philostrato dell' amorose fatiche de Troilo per Giovanni 
' Boccacio^. ' Les suivans (adds Montfaucon'*) contiennent les autres 
ceuvres de Boccace.' Much fabulous history concerning Troilus, is 
related in Guido de Columna's Destruction of Troy. Whatever were 
Chaucer's materials, he has on this subject constructed a poem of con- 
siderable merit, in which the vicissitudes of love are depicted in a strain 
of true poetry, with much pathos and simplicity of sentiment^ He calls 
it, 'a litill tragedie*".' Troilus is supposed to have seen Cresside in a 
temple ; aud retiring to his chamber, is thus naturally described, in 
the critical situation of a lover examining his own mind after the first 
impression of love. 

1 lib. i. vi. 395 2 Lib. ii. v. lo. _ 

3 ' Boccacio's Filostrato was printed in qto. at Milan, in 1488. The title is, ' II Fyolostrato, 
* che tracta de lo innamoramento deTROiLO a Gryseid.a. : et de molte altre infinite battaglie. 
' Impresso nella inclita cita de Milano par magistro Uldericho Scin2enzeler nell anno 
' M. cccCLXXXXVin. a di xxvii di mese Septembre.' It is in the octave stanza. The editor of the 
Canterbury Tales informs me, that Boccacio himself, in his Decameron, has made the 
.same honourable mention of this poem as of the Theseid.a. : although without acknowledging 
either for his own. In the introduction to the Si.xth Day, he says, that ' Dioneo insieme con 
' Lauretta de Troile et di Criseida cominciarono cantare.' Just as, afterwards, in the 
conclusion of the Seventh Day he says, that the same ' Dioueo et Fiametta gran pezzi canta- 
rono insieme d'Arcita et di Palamoe.' Cantort. T. vol. iv. p. 85. iii. p. 311. Chaucer 
appears to have been as much indebted to Boccacio in his Trailus and Cresseide, as in his 
Knightes Tale. At the same time we must observe, that there are several long passages, 
and even episodes, in Troilus, of which no traces appear in the Filostrato. Chaucer 
speaks of himself as a translator out of Latin, B. ii. 14. And he calls his author Lollius, B. 
i. 394. — 421, and B. v. 1652. The latter of these two passages is in the Philostrato : but 
the former, containing Petrarch's sonnet, is not. And when Chaucer says, he translates from 
Latin, we must remember, that the Italian language was called Latino volgare. Shall we 
suppose, that Chaucer followed a more complete copy of the Filostrato than that we have 
at present, or one enlarged by some officious interpolator? The Parisian MSS. might per- 
haps clear these difficulties. In Bennet library at Cambridge, there is a MSS. of Chaucer's 
Troilus, elegantly written, with a frontispiece beautifully illuminated, LXi. 

4 Bibl. p. 793. col. 2. Compare Lengl. Bibl. Rom. ii. p. 253. 

6 Chaucer however claims no merit of invention in this poem. He invokes Clio to favour 
him with rhymes only ; and adds, , 

To everieloverl me' excuse 

That of no sentiment I this endite But out of Latin in viy tongue it write. 

L. ii. v. 10. seq. But Sir Francis Kinaston who translated Troilus and Cresside [1635.] into 
Latin rhymes, says, that Chaucer in this poem ' has taken the liberty of his own inventions.' 
in the mean time, Chaucer, by his own references, seems to have been studious of seldom 
departing from Lollius. In one place, he pays him a compliment, as an author whose excel- 
lencies he could not reach. L. iii. v. 1330. 

Bot sothe is, though I can not tellen all. As can mine author o/kis excellence. 

See also L. iii. 546, 1823. 
<> L. ult. V. 1785. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 255 

And whan that he in chambre was alone, 
He down upon his beddis fete him settc, 
And first he gan to sihe^, and then to gronc, 
And thought aic on her so withoutin Ictte : 
That as he satte and woke, his spirit mctte^ 
That he her saugh, and temple, and all the wise' 
Right of her loke, and gan it newe avise^. 

There is not so much nature in the sonnet to Love, which follows. 
It is translated from Petrarch ; and had Chaucer followed his own 
genius, he would not have disgusted us with the affected gallantry and 
exaggerated compliments which it extends through five tedious stanzas. 
The doubts and delicacies of a young girl disclosing her heart to her 
lover, are exquisitely touched in this comparison : 

And as the newe abashid nightingale 
That stintith^ first, when she beginith sing, 
When that she hcrith any herdis" tale, 
Or in the hedgis anie wight stirring, 
And after sikir'^ doth her voice outring ; 
Right so Cresseide when that her drede stent' 
Opened her herte and told him her intent^. 

The following pathetic scene may be selected from many others. 
Troilus seeing Cresside in a swoon, imagines her to be dead. He un- 
sheaths his sword with an intent to kill himself, and utters these 

And thou, cite, in which I live in wo. 
And thou, Priam, and brethren al ifere'". 
And thou, my mother, farwel, for I go : 
And, Atropos, make ready thou my bere : 
And thou, Creseide, O sweet herte dere, 
Receive thou now my spirit, would he say, 
With swerd at hert all redy far to dcy. 

But as god would, of swough^^ she tho abraide^^, 
And gan to sighe, and Troilus she cride ; 
And he answerid. Lady mine Creseide, 
Livin ye yet ? And let his sword doune glide. 
Yes, herte mine, that thankid be Cupide, 
Quoth she : and therwithall she sore sight^' 
And he began to glad her as he might. 

Toke her in armis two, and kist her oft, 
And her to glad he did all his cntcnt : 
For which her ghost, that flickered aie alofte 
Into her woefull breast aien it went : 

J Sigh. 2 Thought. Imagined. 

' Manner. ♦ L. i. v. 359. 

I Stops. 6 IIerd$„:a,i. A Shc-Nl.crd. 7 With confulcnce. 

"Her fears ceased. H L. iii. v. 123^ 10 •l\.i;..ii,tr 

" Swoon. la Then awaked. i» Sig).t5, 


But at the last, as that her eyin glent^ 
Aside, anon she gan his svverde aspie, 
As it lay here, and gan for fere to crie : 

And askid him why he had it outdrawe ? 

And Troilus anon the cause hir tolde, 

And how therwith himself he would have slawe : 

For which Creseide upon him gan behold, 

And gan him in her armis fast to fold ; 

And said, O mercy, God, to whiche a dede 

Alas ! how nere we werin bothe dede^ ! 

Pathetic description is one of Chaucer's peculiar excellencies. 

In this poem are various imitations from Ovid, which are of too 
peculiar and minute a nature to be pointed out here, and belong to the 
province of a professed and formal commentator on the piece. The 
Platonic notion in the third book^ about universal love, and the doc- 
trine that this principle acts with equal and uniform influence both 
in the natural and moral world, are a translation from Boethius** 
And in the Knight's Tale he mentions, from the same favorite 
■ system of philosophy, the Faire Chaine of Love^ It is worth 
observing, that the reader is referred to Dares Phrygius, instead of 
Homer, for a display of the achievements of Troilus. 

His worthi dedis who so lift him here, 
Rede Dares, he can tel hem all ifere^. 

Our author, from his excessive fondness of Statius, has been guilty of 
a very diverting, and what may be called a double anachronism. He 
represents Cresside, with two of her female companions, sitting in a 
pavid parlour, and reading the Thebaid of Statius", which is called 
the Geste of the Siege of Thebes^, and the Romance of Thebis^. In 
another place, Cassandra translates the arguments of the twelve books 
of the Thebaid^^. In the fourth book of this poem, Pandarus en- 
deavours to comfort Troilus with aiguments concerning the doctrine 

1 Glanced. 2 L. Jv. v. 1203. 3 v. 1750. 

4 Consolat. Philosoph. L. ii. Met. ult. iii. Met. 2. Spenser is full of the same doctrine. See 
Fairy Queen, iix. i. iv. x. 34, 35, &c. &c. I could point out many other imitations from 
Boethius in this poem. 

5 V. 2p9o. Urr. 6 L. iv. v. 1770. ^ L. ii. v. 81. 8 L. ii. v. 84. 

9 L. ii. V. loo. BisJiop Ajnphiorax is mentioned, ib. v. 104. Pandarus says, v. 106. 

All this I know my selve, 

And all the assiege of Thebes, and all the care ; 
For herof ben ther makid bokis twelve. 

In his Dreme, Chaucer, to pass the night away, rather than play at chess, calls for a Romance ; 
in which 'were written fables of quenis livisand of kings, and many other thingis smale.' This 
proves to be Ovid. v. 52. seq. See Man. of L. T. v. 55. Urr. There was an old French 
Romance called Partonepe.\. often cited by Du Gauge and Carpentier. Gl. Lat. This is 
Parthenopeus, a hero of the Theban story. It was translated into English, and called 
Pertonape. See p. 123. supr. 

L. v. v. 1490. I will add here, that Cresside proposes the trial of the Ordeal to Troilus. 
L. iii. V. 1048. Troilus, during the times of truce, amuses himself with hawking. L. iii. v. 1785. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 257 

of predestination, taken from Bradwardinc, a Icarrfed archbishop and 
thcologist, and nearly Chaucer's cotemporary^. 

This poem, aUhough almost as long as the iEncid, was intended to 
be sung to the harp, as well as read. 

And redde where so thou be, or ellis song^. 

It is dedicated to the morall Gower, and to the philosophical Strode. 
Gower will occur as a poet hereafter. Strode was eminent for his 
scholastic knowledge, and tutor to Chaucer's son Lewis at Merton 
college in Oxford. 

Whether the HOUSE OF Fame is Chaucer's invention, or suggested 
by any French or Italian poet, I cannot determine. But I am apt to 
think it was originally a Provencal composition, among other proofs, 
from this passage. 

And ther came out so gret a noise, That had it standin upon Oyse, 
Men might have herd it esily, I trow, to Ro:me sikerly^ 

The Oyse is a river in Picardy, which falls into the river Seine, not 
many leagues from Paris. An Englishman would not have expressed 
distance by such an unfamiliar illustration. Unless we reconcile the 
matter, by supposing that Chaucer wrote this poem during his travels. 
There is another passage where the ideas are those of a foreigp. 
romance. To the trumpeters of renown the poet adds, 
All that usid clarion In Casteloigne or Arragon*. 

Casteloigne is Catalonia in Spaing The martial musicians of English 
tournaments, so celebrated in story, were a more natural and obvious 
allusion for an English poet^. 

This poem contains great strokes of Gothic imagination, yet border- 
ing often on the most ideal and capricious extravagance. The poel, 
in a vision, sees a temple of glass, 

In which were more images. Of god stondinge in sundrie stages, 

Sette in more riche tabernacles. And with perre'^ more pinnacles. 
And more curious pourtraituris, And quaint manir of figuris, 
Of golde work than I sawe evir^. 

On the walls of this temple were engraved stories from Virgil's Eneid®, 

^ In his book De Causa Def, published by Sir Henry Savile, 1617. He toticbes on this 
controversy, Nonne's Pr. T. v. 1349. Urr. See also Tr. Cr. L. iv. v. 961. seq. 

- L. ult. V. 1796. 3 L. ii. V. 838. •* 13. iii. v. 157. 

...? M archaunt's Tale, 1231. p. 70. Urr. He mentions a rock higher than any in Spain, B. 
uii. V. 27. But this I believe was an English proverb. 

•* He mentions a plate of gold, 'As fine as ditckett in Venisc' B. iii. v. 258. But he says, 
that the Galaxy is called Watlyiig strctc. 13. ii. v. 431. He swears by Thomas Beckett, B. 
iii- V. 41. In one place he is addressed by the name of Geoffrey. B. ii. v. 221. But in two 
others by that of Peter. B. i. v. 526. B. iii. v. 909. Among the musicians, he JQcntions 
' Pipirs of all the Duchc tong.' B. iiL v. 144. 

7 Jewels. « B. i. v. 120. 

9 Whcrehe mentions Virgil's hell, he likewise refers to Claudian De Rapiu Proscrptnce, 
and Dante's In/enio. v. 450. There is a translation of a few lines from Dante, whom he calls 

the wise poet of Florence,' in the Wife of Bath's Tale, v. 1125. p. 84. Urr. The story of 



and Ovid's Epistles^. Leaving this temple, he sees an eagle with 
golden wings soaring near the sun. 

Faste by the sonne on hie, As kennj-ng smyght I with mine eie 

Methought I sawe an eagle sore ; But that it semid mochil more^, 

Then I had any egle sene^. 

It was of gold, and shone so bright, 

That nevir man saw suche a sight*, &c. 

The eagle descends, seizes the poet in his talons, and mounting again, 
conveys him to the House of Fame ; which is situated, like that of 
Ovid, between earth and sen. In their passage thither, they fly above 
the stars ; which our author leaves, with clouds, tempests, hail, and 
snow, far beneath him. This aerial journey is partly copied from Ovid's 
Phaeton in the chariot of the sun. But the poet apologises for this ex- 
travagant fiction, and explains his meaning, by alledging the authority 
of Boethius ; who says, that Contemplation may soar on the wings of 
Philosophy above every element. He likewise recollects, in the midst 
of his course, the description of the heavens, given by Marcianus 
Capella in his book De Nuptiis PJiilologice et Mcrciiriv', and Alanus 
in his Anticlandian^. At his arrival in the confines of the House of 
Fame, he is alarmed with confused murmurs issuing from thence, like 
distant thunders or billows. This circumstance is also borrowed from 
Ovid's temple'^. He is left by the eagle near the house, which is built 
of materials bright as polished glass, and stands on a rock of ice of 
excessive height, and almost inaccessible. All the southern side of this 
rock was covered with engravings of the names of famous men, which 
were perpetually melting away by the heat of the sun. The northern 
side of the rock was alike covered with names ; but being here shaded 
from the warmth of the sun, the characters remained unmelted and un- 
effaced. The structure of the house is thus imagined. 

Me thoughtin by sainct Gile, That all was of stone of beriUe, 

Both the castle and the toure, And eke the hall and everie boure^; 

Without pecis or joynynges, And many subtill compassyngs, 

Hugolin of Pisa, a subject which Sir Joshua Reynolds has lately painted in a capital style, 
is translated from Dante, ' the grete poete of Italie that hight Dante,' in the Monkes Tale, 
V. 877. A sentence from Dante is cited in the Lecende of Good Women, v. 360. In the 
Freere's Tale, Dante is compared with Virgil, v. 256. 

1 It was not only in the fairy palaces of the poets and romance-writers of the middle ages, 
that Ovid's stories adorned the walls. In one of the courts of the palace of Nonesuch, all 
Ovid's Metamorphoses were cut in stone under the windows. Hcarne, Coll. MSS. 55. p. 64. 
But the Epistles seems to have been the favorite work, the subject of which coincided with 
the gallantry of the times. ^ Greater. 

3 The eagle says to the poet, that this house stands 

' Right so as thine awne lokc tcllith.' 

B. ii. V. 204. This is, Ovid's Metamorphoses. See Met. L. xii. v. 40, &c. 

4 B. i. V. 4q6. scq. 

6 The Marchaunt's Tale, v. 1248. p. 70. Urr. And Lidg. Stor. Theb. fol. 337- . 

6 A famous book in the middle ages. There is an old French translation of it. Bibl. Res. 
Paris. MSS. Cod. 7632. 

7 See Met. xii. 39. And Virg. iEn. iv. 173. Val. Flacc. ii. 117. Lucan. i. 469. 

8 Chamber. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 259 

As barbicans '^ and pinnacles, Imageries and tabernacles 

I sawe, and full eke of windowis As fiakis fallin in grcte snowis. 

In these lines, and in some others which occur hereafter^, the poet 
perhaps alludes to the many new decorations in architecture, which 
began to prevail about his time, and gave rise to the florid Gothic 
style. There arc instances of this in his other poems. In his Dreame, 
printed 1597^. 

And of a sute were al the touris, Subtily carven aftir flouris. 

With many a smal turret hie. 

And in the description of the palace oC Pleasaunt REGARDE, in the 

Fairir is none, though it were for a king, 
Devisid wel and that in every thing ; 
The towTis hie, ful plesante shal ye finde, 
With fannis fresh, turning with everie winde. 
The chambris, and the parlirs of a sorte, 
With bay windows, goodlie as may be thought : 
As for daunsing or otlier wise disporte, 
The galeries be al right wel pvrought. 

In Chaucer'sLife,byWilIiam Thomas^, itis not mentioned that he was 
appointed clerk of the king's works, in the palace of Westminster, in 
the royal manors of Shene, Kensington, Byfleet, and Clapton, and in 
the Mews at Charing". Again in 1380, of the works of St. George's 
chapel at Windsor, then ruinous^. But to return. 

Within the niches formed in the pinnacles stood all round the 

Al manir of minstrelis, And jestours* that tellyn tales 

Both of weping and eke of game. 
That is, those who sung or recited adventures either tragic or comic, 
which excited either compassion or laughter. They were accompanied 
with the most renowned harpers, among which were Orpheus, Arion, 
Chiron, and the Briton Glaskerion^. Behind these were placed, ' by 
many a thousand time twelve,' players on various instruments of 
music. Among the trumpeters are named Joab, Virgil's Misenus, and 
Theodamas^'l About these pinnacles were also marshalled the most 
famous m"gicians, juglers, witches, prophetesses, sorceresses, and 
professors of natural magic^^, which ever existed in ancient or modern 

1 Turrets. _ _ -B. iii. v. 211. _ 3 V. 81. p. 572. Urr. _ 4 V. 158. 

" Chaucer's Life in Urry's edition. William Thomas digested this Life from collections by 
Dart. His brother. Dr. Timothy Thomas, wrote or compiled the Glossary and Preface to 
that edition. Dart's Westminst. Abbey, i. 86. Timothy Thomas was of Christ Church 
Oxford, and died in 1751. 

« Claus. 8. Kic. ii. 

' Pat. 14. Ric. ii. Apud Tanner, Bibl. p. 1O6. Not. e. 

8 This word is above cxi)laiiied. 

Concerning this harper, see Percy's B.-ilIads. 
l*The Marchaunt's Tale, v. 1236. seg. p. 70. Urr. 
^ Frankelein's Tale, where several feats are described, as e.\hibUed at a feast done by 


times : such as Medea, Circe, Calliope, Hermes^, Limotheus, and 
Simon. Magus-. At entering the hall he sees an infinite multitude o£ 
heralds, on the surcoats of whom were richly embroidered the armorial 
ensigns of the most redoubted champions that ever tourneyed in 
Africa, Europe, or Asia. The floor and roof of the hall were covered 
with thick plates of gold, studded with the costliest gems. - At the 
upper end, on a lofty shrine, made of carbuncle, sate Fame. Her 
figure is like those in Virgil and Ovid. Above her, as if sustained on 
her shoulders, sate Alexander and Hercules. From the throne to the 
gates of the hall, ran a range of pillars with respective inscriptions. 
On the first pillar made of lead and iron^, stood Josephus, the Jewish 
historian, ' That of the [Jewis gestis told,' with seven other writers on 
the same subject. On the second pillar, made of iron, and paintedall over 
with the blood of tigers, stood Statius. On another higher than the rest 
stood Homer, Dares Phrygius, Livy*, Lollius, Guido of Columna, and 
Geoffry of Monmouth, writers of the Trojan stor}^ On a pillar of ' tinnid 
iron clere,' stood Virgil ; and next him, on a pillar of copper, appeared 
Ovid. The figure of Lucan was placed on a pillar of iron ' wroght 
full sternly,' accompanied with many Roman historians^. On a pillar 

natural magic, a favorite science of the Arabians. Chaucer there calls it ' An art which sotill 
' tragetoris plaie.' v. 2696- p. no. Urr. Of this more will be said hereafter. 

1 None of the works of the first Hermes Trismegistus now remain. Cornel. Agrip. Van. 
Sclent, cap. xlviii. The astrological and other philosophical pieces under that name are sup- 
posititious. Fabr. Biblioth. Gr. .xii. 70S. And Chan. Ye.m. Tale, v. 1455. p. 126. Urr. Some 
of these pieces were published under the fictitious names of Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Solomon, 
Saint Paul, and of many of the patriarchs and fathers. Cornel. Agripp. de Van. Sclent, cap. 
xlv. Who adds, that these trifles were followed by Alphonsus king of Castile, Robert Grosi- 
head. Bacon, and Apponus. He mentiones Zabulus and Barnabas of Cyprus as famous 
writers in magic. Gower's Confess. Amant. p. 134. b. 146. edit. 1554. fol. per Berthelette. In 
speaking of ancient authors, who were known or celebrated in the midddle ages, it may be 
remarked, that Macrobius was one. He is mentioned by William de Lorris in the Rom.\n d:; 
LA Rose, v. 9. ' Ung aucteur qui ot nom Macrohe.' A line literally translated by Chaucer. 
'An author that hight Macrobes.' v. 7. Chaucer quotes him in his Dreme, v. 284. In the 
NoNNES Priest's Tale, v. 1238. p. 171. Urr. In the Assemble of Fowles, v. hi. see 
also ibid. v. 31. He wrote a comment on Tully's Somnium Scipionis, and in these passages 
he is referred to on account of that piece. Petrarch, in a letter to Nicolas Sigeros, a 
learned Greek of Constantinople, quotes Macrobius, as a Latin author of all others the most 
familiar to Nicolas. It is to prove that Homer is the fountain of all invention. Thisisin 1354. 
Famil. Let. i.x. 2. There is a I\ISS. of the first, and part of the second book of Macrobius, 
elegantly written, as it seems, in France, about the year Soo. MSS. Coton. Vitell. C. iii. 
Cod. Membr. fol. viii. fol. 138. M. Planudes, a Constantinopolitan monk of the fourteenth 
century, is said to have translated Macrobius into Greek. But see Fabric. Bibl. Gr. x. 534. 
It is remarkable, that in the above letter, Petrarch apologises for calling Platothe Prince of 
Philosophers, after Cicero, Seneca, Apuleius, Plotinus, St. Ambrose, and St. Austin. 

" Among these he mentions JugL-rs, that is, in the present sense of the word, those who 
practised Legerdemain : a popular science in Chaucer's time. Thus in Squ. T. v. 239. Urr. 

As jugelours playin at these festis grete. 

It was an appendage of the occult sciences studied and introduced into Europe by the 

3 In the composition of these pillars, Chaucer displays his chemical knowledge. 

* Dares Phrj'gius and Livj- are both cited in Chaucer's, v. 1070. 1084. Chaucer is 
fond of quotingLivj-. He was also much admired by Petrarch ; who, while at Paris, assiilcil 
in translating him into French. This circumstance might make Livy a favorite with Chaucer. 
Vie de Pctrarque, iii. p. 547. 

5 Was not this intended to characterise Lucan 1 Quintilian says of Lucan, ' Oratoribas 
' magis quam/oeiis annumerandus.' Instit. Orat. L. x. c. i. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY, 261 

^ of sulphur stood Claudian, so symbolised, because \(* wrote of Pluto 
and Proserpine. 

That bare up all the fame of hell : 
Of Pluto and of Proserpine That queen is of the darke pine'. 

The hall was filled with the writers of ancient tales and romances, 
whose subjects and names were too numerous to be recounted. In the 
mean time crowds from eveiy nation and of every condition filled the 
hall, and each presented his claim to the queen. A messenger is dis- 
patched to summon Eolus from his cave in Thrace ; who is ordered 
to bring his two clarions called Slander and Praise, and his trum- 
peter Triton. The praises of each petitioner are then resounded, ac- 
cording to the partial or capricious appointment of Fame ; and equal 
merits obtain very different success. There is much satire and 
humour in these requests and rewards, and in the disgraces and 
honours which are indiscriminately distributed by the cjueen, without 
discernment and by chance. The poet then enters the house or lab- 
r\-nth of Ru.MOUR. It was built of sallow twigs, lik a cage, and there- 
fore admitted every sound. Its doors were also more numerous than 
leaves on the trees, and. always stood open. These are romantic ex- 
aggerations of Ovid's inventions on the same subject. It was moreover 
sixty miles in length, and perpetually turning round. From this house, 
says the poet, issued tidings of every kind, like fountains and rivers 
from the sea. Its inhabitants, who were eternally employed in hear- 
ing or telling news, together with the rise of reports, and the formation 
of lies are then humourously described : the company is chiefly composed 
of sailors, pilgrims, and pardoners. At length our author is awakened 
at seeing a venerable personage of great authority : and thus the 
Vision abruptly concludes. 

Pope has imitated this piece, with his usual elegance of diction and 
haiTncny of versification. But in the meantime, he has not only mis- 
represented the stor)', but marred the character of the poem. He has 
endeavoured to correct it's extravagancies, by new refinements and 
additions of another cast : but he did not consider, that extravagancies 
are essential to a poem of such a structure, and even constitute its 
beauties. An attempt to unite order and exactness of imagery with a 
subject formed on principles so professedly romantic and anomalous, 
is like giving Corinthian pillars to a Gothic palace. When I read 
Pope's elegant imitation of this piece, I think I am walking among the 
modem monuments unsuitably placed in Westminster-abbey, 

1 P. iii. V. 419. Ch.-iucer alludes to this poem of Claudian in the Marciiaunt's Tale, 
where he calls Pluto, the king of ' fayric.' 1744. p. 73. Urr, 



Nothing can be more ingeniously contrived than the occasion on 
which Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are supposed to be recited. A 
company of pilgrims, on their journey to visit the shrine of Thomas a 
Beckett at Canterbury, lodge at the Tabarde-inn in Southwark. 
Although strangers to each other, they are assembled in one room 
at supper, as was then the custom ; and agree, not only to travel 
together the next morning, but to relieve the fatigue of the journey by 
telling each a story^. Chaucer undoubtedly intended to imitate 
Boccacio, whose Decainieron was then the most popular of books, in 
writing a set of tales, But the circumstance invented by Boccacio, 
as the cause which gave rise to his Decameron, or the relation of his 
hundred stories, is by no means so happily conceived as that of 
Chaucer for a similar purpose. Boccacio supposes, that when the 
plague began to abate at Florence, ten young persons of both sexes 
retired to a country house, two miles from the city, with a design of 
enjoying fresh air, and passing ten days agreeably. Their principal 
and established amusement, instead of playing at chess after dinner, 
was for each to tell a tale. One superiority which, among others, 
Chaucer's plan afforded above that of Boccacio, was the opportunity 
of displaying a variety of striking and dramatic characters, who 
would not have easily met but on such an expedition. A circum- 
stance which also contributed to give a variety to the stories. And 
for a number of persons in their situation, so natural, so practicable, 
so pleasant, I add so rational, a mode of entertainment could not have 
been imagined. 

The Canterbury Tales are unequal, and of various merit. Few, 
if any, of the stories are perhaps the invention of Chaucer. I have 
already spoken at large of the Knight's Tale, one of our author's 
noblest compositions^. That of the Canterbury Tales, which 
deserves the next place, as written in the higher strain of poetry, and 
the poem by which Milton describes and characterises Chaucer, is 
the Squier's Tale. The imagination of this story consists in 
Arabian fiction engrafted on Gothic chivaliy. Nor is this Arabian fic- 

1 There is an inn at Burford in 0.\forclshirc, which accommodated pilgrims on their road 
to Saint Edward's shrine in the abljey of Gloucester. A long room, with a series of Gothic 
windows, still remains, which was their refectory. Leland mentions such another, Itin. ii 70. 

" It is remarkable, that Boccacio chose a Greek title, that is, Ai>ccf/]//,'pov, for his 
Tales. He has also given Greek names to the ladies and gentlemen who recite the tales. 
His Eclogues are full of Greek words. This was natural at the revival of the Greek 

3 The reader will exxusc my irregularity in not considering it under the CANTERBi;Ry 
Tales. I have here given the reasoii, which is my apology, in the text. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 263 

tion purely the sport of arbitrary fancy : it is in great measure 
founded on Arabian learning. Cambuscan, a king of Tartar}-, cele- 
brates his birth-day festival in the hall of his palace at Sarra, with the 
most royal magnificence. In the midst of the solemnity, the guests 
are alarmed with a miraculous and unexpected spectacle : the min- 
strells cease on a sudden, and all the assembly is hushed in silence, 
surprise, and suspencc. 

While that the king sate thus in his noblay, 

Hcrkining his minstrelis ther thingis play, 

Beforn him at his bord deliciously : 

In at the hallc dore, ful sodeinly. 

There came a knight upon a stede of brass ; 

And in his honde a brode mirrour of glass : 

Upon his thombe he had of gold a ring. 

And by his side a nakid sword hanging. 

And up he rideth to the hie bord : : 

In all the hall nc was there spoke a word, 

For marveile of this knight him to behold'. 

These presents were sent by the king of Araby and Inde to Cambus- 
can in honour of his feast. The horse of brass, on the skilful movement 
and management of certain secret springs, transported his rider into 
the most distant region of the world in the space of twenty-four hours ; 
for, as the rider chose, he could fly in the air with the swiftness of an 
■eagle : and again, as occasion required, he could stand motionless in 
opposition to the strongest force, vanish on a sudden at command, 
and return at his master's call. The Mirrour of glass was endued 
with the power of shewing any future disasters which might happen 
to Cambuscan's kingdom, and discovered the most hidden machina- 
tions of treason. The Naked Sword could pierce armour deemed 

' Were it as thik as is a branchid oke.' 

And he who was wounded with it could never be healed, unless its 
possessor could be entreated to stroke the wound with its edge. The 
Ring was intended for Canacc, Canbuscan's daughter ; and while she 
bore it in her purse, or wore it on her thumb, enabled her to 
understand the language of every species of birds, and the virtues of 
every plant. 

And whan this knight hath first his tale ytold, 

He ridd out of the hall and down he light : 

His Stede, which that shone as tljc sunne bright, i 

^ V. 96. See a fine romantic sfor>' of a Count de Macon : who, while revelling in his hall 
■with many knights, is suddenly alarmed by the entrance of a gigantic figure of a black man. 
mounted on a black steed. 'J'hLs terrible stranger, without receiving any obstruction from 
guards or gates, rides directly forward to the high table ; and, with an imperious tone, 
orders the count to follow him, &c. Nic. Gillos, chron. ann. 1120. Ous. Fair. (ju. § v. p. 146. 


Stant in the court as still as any stone. 
The knight is to his chamber lad anon, 
He is unarmed and to the mete ysette : 
And all these presents full riche bene yfette, 
That is to saine, the Sword and the Mirrour, 
All bom anon was unto the high tour, 
With certayn officers ordayned therefore : 
And under Canace the Ring is bore 
Solemnly ther as she sate at the table^. 

I have mentioned, in another place, the favorite philosophical studies 
of the Arabians. In this poem the nature of those studies is displayed, 
and their operations exemplified : and this consideration, added to the 
circumstances of Tartaiy being the scene of action, and Arabia the 
country from which these extraordinary presents are brought, induces 
me to believe this story to be one of the many fables which the 
Arabians imported into Europe. At least it is formed on their 
principles. Their sciences were tinctured with the warmth of their 
imaginations ; and consisted in wonderful discoveries and mysterious 

This idea of a horse of brass took its rise from their chemical know- 
ledge and experiments in metals. The treatise of Jebei', a famous 
Arab chemist of the middle ages, called Lapis Philosophorum, con- 
tains many curious and useful processes concerning the nature of 
metals, their fusion, purification, and malleability, which still maintain 
a place in modern systems of that science^. The poets of romance, 
who deal in Arabian ideas, describe the Trojan horse as made of 
brass^. These sages pretended the power of giving life or speech to 
some of their compositions in metal. Bishop Grosthead's speaking 
brazen head, sometimes attributed to Bacon, had its foundation in 
Arabian philosophy*. In the romance of Valentine and Orson, a 
brazen head fabricated by a necromancer in a magnificient chamber 
of the castle of Clerimond, declares to those two princes their royal 
parentage.^ We are told by William of Malmesbury, that Pope 
Sylvester the second, a profound mathematician, who lived in the 
'eleventh century, made a brazen head, which would speak when spoken 

" The Arabians call chemistry', as treating of minerals and metals, SniiA. _ From Sim, a 
word signifying the veins of gold and sijver in the mines. Herbelot, Bibl. Orient, p. 810. b. 
Hither, among many other things, we might refer Merlin's two dragons of gold finished with 
most exquisite workmanship, in Geoffrey of Monmouth, 1. viii. c. 17. Ibid. vii. c. 3. 
Where Merlin prophesies that a brazen wan on a brazen horse shall guard the gates of 

3 Lydgate's Troye Boke, B. iv. c. 35. And Gower's Conf. Am.\nt. B. i. f. 13. b. edit. 
1554. ' A horse of braSsc thei lette do forge.' 

* Gower, Confes. Amant. ut supr. L. iv. fol. Ixiiii. a. edit. 1554. 

For of the greate clerke Groostest I red, how redy that he was 

Upon clergy a He.\d of Brasse To make, and forge it for io telle 

Of such things as befell, &'c. 

• Ch. xxvlii. seq. 

warton's history of en'Glish poetry. 265 

to, and oracularly resolved many difficult questions^ Albcitus 
IMagnus, who was also a profound adept in those sciences v/hich were 
taught by the Arabian schools, is said to have framed a man of brass ; 
which not only answered questions readily and truly, but was so 
locjuacious, that Thomas Aquinas while a pupil of Albcrtus 
Magnus, afterwards a seraphic doctor, knocked it in pieces as 
the disturber of his abstruse speculations. This was about the year 
1240.- Much in the same manner, the notion of our knight's horse 
being moved by means of a concealed engine, corresponds with their 
pretences of producing preternatural effects, and their love of surprising 
by geometrical powers. Exactly in this notion, Rocail, a giant in some 
of the Arabian romances, is said to have built a palace, together with 
his own sepulchre, of most magnificicnt architecture, and with singular 
artifice : in both of these he placed a great number of gigantic statues 
or images, figured of different m.etals by talismanic skill, which in 
consequence of some occult machinery, performed actions of real life, 
and looked like living men^ We must add, that astronomy, which 
the Arabian philosophers studied with a singular enthusiasm, had no 
small share in the composition of this miraculous steed. For, says 
the poet, 

He that it wrought couth many a gin. 
He waitid many a constellation Ere he had don this operation* 

Thus the buckler of the Arabian giant Ben Gian, as famous among 
the orientals as that of Achilles among the Greeks, was fabricated 
by the powers of astronomy.^ And Pope Sylvester's brazen head, 
just mentioned, was prepared under the influence of certain 

Natural magic, improperly so called, was likewise a favorite pursuit 
of the Arabians, by which they imposed false appearances on 
the spectator. This was blended with their astrology. Our 

1 De Gest. Reg. Angl. lib. ii. cap. 10. Compare Mojer. Symbolor. Aurca: Mcnsae, lib. x. 

P- 453- 

- iJelrio, Di<;quis. Magic, lib. 1. cap. 4. 

3 Herbelot, liibl. Orient. V. Rokail. p. 717. a. 

"* V. 1.19. I do not precisely understand the line immediately following. 

And knew ful many sele and many a bond. 

Selc, i.e. Seni, may mean a talismanic sigil used in astrology'. Or the Hermetic scnl u^cd 
in chemistry. Or, connected with Bond, may signify contracts made with spirits in chemical 
operations. But all these belong to the Arabian philosophy, and arc alike to our purpose. 
In the Arabian books now extant, are the alphabets out of which they formed Talismans to 
draw down spirits or angels. The Arabian word Kimia, not only signifies chemistry, but 3. 
magical and superstitious science, by which they bound spirits to their will, and drew from 
them the information required. Herbelot, Diet. Orient, p. 810. 1005. The curious and 
more inquii>itivc reader may consult Cornelius Agrippa, L>c Van. iicicnt. cap. xliv. xlv. 

^ Many mysteries were concealed in the composition of thi.s shield. It destroyed all the 
charms and enchantments which cither dcmotis or giants could make hy goelic or magic art. 
Herbelot ubi supr. V. Gian. p. 396. a. 


author's Frankelein's Tale is entirely founded on the miracle of 

this art, 

For I am sikers^ ther be science, 
By which men maken divers appearances 
Spche as these sotill tragctories^ plaie : 
For oft at festis, I have herde saie 
That tragetors, within a halle large, 
Have made to comin watir in a barge, 
And in tlie hallc rowin up and down : 
Sometime hatli semid come a grim liown, 
And sometime flouris spring as in a maede ; 
Sometimes a vine, and grapis white and rede; 
Sometimes a castill, &c''. 

Aftenvards a. magician in the same poem shews various specimens 
of his art in raising such illusions : and by way of diverting king 
Aurelius before supper, presents before him parks and forests filled 
with deer of vast proportion, some of Avhich are killed with hounds 
and others with arrows. He then shews the king a beautiful lady in a 
dance. At the clapping of the magician's hands all these deceptions 
disappear*. These feats are said to be performed by consultation of 
the stars^ We frequently read in romances of illusive appearances 
framed by magicians", which by the same power are made suddenly to 
vanish. To trace the matter home to its true source, these fictions 
have their origin in a science which professedly made a considerable 
part of Arabian learning''. In the twelfth century the number of 
magical and astrological Arabic books translated into Latin was prodi- 
gious^. Chaucer, in the fiction before us, supposes that some of the 
guests in Cambusean's hall believed the Trojan horse to be a 
temporary illusion effected by the power of magic^. 

1 Sure. 2 Juglers. 3 v. 2700. Urr. 

4 But his most capital performance is to remove an immense chain of rocks from the sea- 
shore : this is done in such a manner, that for t"he space of one week, ' it semid all the rockis 
* were away,' ibid. 2849. By the way, this tale appears to be a transaction. He says, ' As 
' the boke doth me remember.' v. 2793. ■^'-^ ' ^ "^o™ Garumne to the mouth of the Seine.' 
V. 2778. The Garonne and Seine are rivers in France. 

5 Frankel. T. v. 2S20. p. in. Urr. The Christians called this one of the diabolical arts 
of the Saracens or Arabians. And many of their own philosophers, who afterwards wrote on 
the subject or performed experiments on its principles, were said to deal with the devil. 
Witness our Bacon, &c. From Sir John Maundeville's Travels it appears, that the sciences 
were in high request in the court of the Cham of Tartary about the year 1340. He says, 
that, at a great festival, on one side of the Emperor's table, he saw placed many philoso- 
phers skilled in various sciences, such as astronomy, necromancy, geomclry, and pyromancy : 
that some of these had before them astrolabes of gold and precious stones, others had 
horologes richly furnished, with many other mathematical instruments, &c., chap- l.\.\i. Sir 
John Maundcville began his travels into the Exst in 1322, and finished his book in 1364. 
chap. ci.x. Johannes Sarisb. L. i. cap. xi. fol. 10. b. 

6 See what is said of Spenser's F.\lse Flori.mel, Obs. Spens. §. xi. p. 123. 

7 Herbelot mentions many oriental pieces, ' Qui traittent de cette art pcmicieux at de- 
*fendu.' Diet. Orient. V. Schr. Compare Agrippa, ubi supr. cap. xlii. .seq. 

8 ' Irrcpsit hac a;tate ctiam turba astrologorum et magorum, ejus farina; librisuna cum aliis 
' de Arabico in Latinum conversis.' Conring. Script. Comment. SiEC. xiii. cap. 3. p. 125. 
Herbelot. Bibl. Orient. V. Ketab. passim. 

9 John of Salisbury says, that magicians are those who, among other deceptions, ' Rebus 
'adununt species suas.' Polycrat. i. 10. fol. 10. b. Agrippa mentions one Pasetes a 


WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 267 

An appcaraunce ymadc by some magike, 
As jogleurs playin at these festis grete^. 

In speaking of the metallurgy of the Arabians, I must not omit the 
sublime imagination of Spencer, or rather some British bard, who, 
feigns that the magician Merlin intended to build a wall of brass about 
Cainnardin, or Cannarthen ; but that being hastily called away by 
the lady of the Lake, and slain by her perfidy, he has left his fiends 
still at work on this mighty structure round their brazen cauldrons, 
under a rock among the neighbouring woody cliffs of Dynevaur, who 
dare not desist till their master returns. At this day says the poets 
if you listen at a chink or cleft of the rock. 

Such gastly noyse of yron chaines 

And brasen cauldrons thou shalt rombling heare, 
Which thousand sprights with long enduring paines 
Do tosse, that it will stunn thy feeble braines, 
And oftentimes great groncs and grievous stowndes 
When too huge toile and labour them constraines, 
And oftentimes loud strokes and ringing sowndes 
From under that deepe rock most horribly reboundes. 

X. The cause some say is this : a little while 
Before that INIerlin dyde, he dyd intend 
A BRAZEN WALL in compasse to compyle 
About Cairmardin, and did it commend 
Unto those sprights to bring to perfect end : 
During which work the Lady of the Lake, 
Wliom long he lovd for him in haste did send, 
Who thereby forst his workem.en to forsake, 
Them bounde, til his returne, their labour not to slake. 

XL In the mean time, through that false ladies traine, 
He was surprizd, and buried under bcare, 
Ne ever to his work returnd againc : 
Nathlesse those feends may not their worke forbcare, 
So greately his commandment they feare. 
But there do toyle and travayle night and day. 
Until that drasen WALL they up do rcare^. 

This story Spenser borrowed from Giraldus Cambrensis, who during 
his progress through Wales, in the twelfth century, picked it up among 
other romantic traditions propagated by the British bards'. I have 

juglcr, who ' was wont to shewe to strangers a very sumptuouse banket, and when it pleased 
' him, to cause it vanLshe awayc, al they which sate at the tabic beintj disapointcd both of 
' meate and drinke, &c.' Van. Scient. cap. xlviii. p. 62. b. Engl. Transl. ut infr. Du 
Haldc raonlions a Chinese enchanter, who, when the Empcrour was inconsolable for the loss 
of his deceased queen, caused her image to appear before him. HLst. Chin. iii. J. iv. Sec 
the deceptions of Uakem an Arabian jugler, in Herbelot, in V. p. 412. See supr. p. 393. 394. 

1 V. 238. 2 Fairy Queen, iii. 3. 9. scq. 

8 Girald. Cambrens. Ilin. Cambr. i. c. 6. HoUingsh. Hist. i. 129. And Camden's Brit, p, 
734. Drayton has this fiction, which he relates somewhat differently. Polyolb. lib. iv. p 
62. edit 1613. Hence Bacon's wall of brass about England. 


before pointed out the source from which the British bards received 
most of their extravagant fictions. 

Optics were hkewise a branch of study which suited the natural 
genius of the Arabian philosophers, and which they pursued with 
incredible delight. This science was a part of the Aristotelian 
philosophy : which, as I have before observed, they refined and filled 
with a thousand extravagancies. Hence our strange knight's MiRROTR. 
OF Glass, prepared on the most profound principles of art, and endued 
with preternatural qualities. 

And some of them wondrin on the mirrour, 
That born was up into the master tour : 
How men mightin in it such thingis se. 
And othir seid, certis it well might be 
Naturally by compositiouns : 
Of angles, and of sly reflectiouns : 
And saide, that at Rome was soche an one 
Thei spak of Alcen and Vitellion, 
And Aristote, that writith in their lives 
Of queint mirrouris, and of perspectives^ 
And again 

The mirrour eke which I have in my hand, 
Hath such a might, that men may in it se 
When there shall fall any adversite 
Unto your reigne, &c-. 

Alcen, or Alhazen, mentioned in these lines, an Arabic philosopher, 
wrote seven books of perspective, and flourished about the eleventh 
century. Vitellio, formed on the same school, was likewise an eminent 
mathematician of the middle ages, and wrote ten books of Perspective. 
The Roman mirrour here mentioned by Chaucer, as similar to this of 
the strange knight, is thus described by Gower. 

When Rome stoode in noble plite Virgile, which was the parfitc 
A mirrour made of his clergie^ And sette it in the townes cic 

Of marbre on a pillar without. That thei be thyrte mile aboute 

By daic and eke also bi night In that mirrour behold might 

Her enemies if any were, Slc*. 

The oriental writers relate that Giamschid, one of their kings, the 
Solomon of the Persians and their Alexander the Great, possessed, 
among his inestimable trcasuves, cups, globes, and mirrours, of metal, 
glass, and crystal, by means of which, he and his people knew all 
natural as well as supernatural things. A title of an Ai-abian book, 
translated from the Persian, is 'The Mirrour which reflects the 
World.' There is this passage in an ancient Turkish poet, ' When I 

am purified by the light of heaven my soul will become the mirrour 

1 V. 244. " V. 153. " Learning. Philosophy. 

Confess. Amant. 1. v. fol. xciv. 6. edit. Berth. 1554. ut supr. 


' of the luorld, in -which I shall discern all abstruse secretsJ' Monsieur 
I'Herbelot is of opinion, that the orientals took these notions frcm the 
patriarch Joseph's cup of divination, and Nestor's cup in Homer, on 
which all nature was symbolically represented^ Our great country- 
man Roger Bacon, in his Opus Majus, a work entirely formed on the 
Aristotelian and Arabian philosophy, describes a variety of Specula, and 
explains their construction and uses". This is the most curious and 
extraordinary part of Bacon's book, which was written about the year 
1270. Bacon's optic tube, with which he pretended to see ficturc 
events, was famous in his age, and long afterwards, and chiefly con- 
tributed to give him the name of a magician^. This art, with others 
of the experimental kind, the philosophers of those times were fond of 
adapting to the purposes of thaumaturgy ; and there is much occult 
and chimerical speculation in the discoveries which Bacon aftects to 
have made from optical experiments. He asserts, and I am obliged to 
cite the passage in his own mysterious expressions. ' Omnia sciri per 
' Perspectivam, quoniam omnes actiones rerum hunt secundum specie- 
' rum et virtutum multiplicationem ab agentibus hujus mundi in 
' materias patientes, tic'*.' Spenser feigns, that the magician Merlin 
made a glassic globe, and presented it to king Ryence, which shewed 
the approach of enemies and discovered treasons". This fiction, which 
exactly corresponds with Chaucer's Mirrour, Spenser borrowed from 
some romance, perhaps of king Arthur, fraught with oriental fancy. 
From the same sources came a like fiction of Camoens, in the Lusiad'', 
where a globe is shewn to Vasco de Gama, representing the universal 
fabric or system of the world, in which he sees future king- 
doms and future events. The Spanish historians report an American 
tradition, but more probably invented by themselves, and built on 
the Saracen fables, in which they were so conversant. They pretend 
that some years before the Spaniards entered Mexico, the inhabitants 
caught a monstrous fowl, of unusual magnitude and shape, on the lake 
of Mexico. In the crown of the head of this wonderful bird, there 
was a mirrour or plate of glass, in which the Mexicans saw their 
future invaders the Spaniards, and all the disasters v/hich afterwards 
happened to their kingdom. These superstitions remained, even in 

1 Hcrbclol. Diet. Oriental. V. Giam. p. 392. col. 2. John of Salisbury mentions a 
species of diviners called Specl'larii, who predicted future events, and told various secrets, 
by consulting mirrours, and the surfaces of other polished reflecting substances. Polycrat! 
i. 12. p. 32. edit. 1595. 

2 Edit. Jebb. p. 253. Bacon, in one of his manu.scripts, complains, that no person read 
lectures in Oxford De Persi'ECTIVa, before the year 1267. He .-idd.s, that in the university 
of Paris, this .science was quite unknown. In Epist. ad Oi'US Minus. CIcmenti iv. Et ibid. 
Op. .Mi.v. iii. cin. ii. MSS. Uibl. Coll. Univ. O.xon. c. 20. In another he affirms, that 
Julius Ce^ar, before he invaded IJritain, viewed our harbours and shores with a telescope 
from the liritish coast. MSS. lib. De Perspectivis. He .-iccuiately describes reading 
sla.sscs or spectacles. Op. Maj. p. 236. And the Camera Obscura, I believe, is one of his 

" Wood, HLst. Anticjuit. UnL Oxon. i. 122. •* Op. Min. MSS. ut supr. 

* Fairy Queen, iii. ii. 21. Cant. x. 


the doctrines of philosophers, long after the darker ages. Cornelius 
Agrippa, a learned physician of Cologne, about the year 1520, author 
of a famous book on the Vanity of the Sciences, mentions a species of 
mirrour which exhibited the form of persons absent at command^ In 
one of these he is said to have shewn to the poetical earl of Surrey, the 
image of his mistress, the beautiful Geraldine, sick and reposing on a 
couch^. Nearly allied to this, was the infatuation oi seeing thiiigs in a 
beryl, which was very popular in the reign of James I., and is alluded 
to by Shakespeare. The Arabians were also famous for other 
machineries of glass, in which their chemistry was more immediately 
concerned. The philosophers of their school invented a story of a 
magical steel-glass, placed by Ptolemy on the summit of a lofty pillar 
near the city of Alexandria, for burning ships at a distance. The 
Arabians called this pillar Hemadejlaeor, or the pillar of the Arabians^. 
I think it is mentioned by Sandys. Roger Bacon has left a manuscript 
tract on the formation of burning-glasses* : and he relates that the first 
burning-glass which he constructed cost him sixty pounds of Parisian 
money^. Ptolemy, who seems to have been confounded with Ptolemy 
the Egyptian astrologer and geographer, was famous among the 
eastern writers and their followers for his skill in operations of glass. 
Spenser mentions a miraculous tower of glass built by Ptolemy, which 
concealed his mistress the Egyptian Phao, while the invisible inhab- 
itants viewed all the world from every part of it. 

Great Ptolomee it for his leman's sake 
Ybuilded all of glass by magickc power, 
And also it impregnable did make^. 

But this magical fortress, although impregnable, was easily broken in 
pieces at one stroke by the builder, when his mistress ceased to love. 
One of Boyardo's extravagancies is a prodigious wall of glass built by 

1 It is diverting in this book to observe the infancy of experimental philosophy, and their 
want of knowing how to use or apply the mechanical arts which they were even actually pos- 
sesssed of. Agrippa calls the inventor of magnifying glasses, 'without doubte the beginner 
' of alldishonestie.' He mentions various sorts of diminishing, burning, reflecting, and multi- 
plying glasses, with some others. At length this profound thinker closes the chapter with this 
' .sage reflection, ' All these things are value and superfluou.s, and invented to no other end but 
' for pompe and idle pleasure.' Chap. xxvi. p. 36. A translation by James Sandford, Lond. 
1569. 4to. Bl. Let. 

2 Drayton's Heroical Epist. p. 87. b. edit. 1598. 

3 The same fablers have adapted a similar fiction to Hercules: that he erected pillars at 
Cape Finesterrc, on which he raised rnagical looking-glasses. In his eastern romance, 
called the Seven Wise Masters, of which more will be said hereafter, at the siege of Hur 
in Persia, certain philosophers terrified the enemy by a device of placing a habit (says an old 
English translation) ' of a giant-like proportion, on a tower, and covering it with burning- 
' glasses, looking-glasses of ciystal, and other glasses of several colours, wrought together in a 
' marvellous order, &c.' ch. xvii. p. 182. edit. 1674. The Constantinopolitan Greeks possessed 
these arts in common with the Arabians. See Alorisolus, ii. 3. Who says, that in tlie year 
751, they set fire to the Saracen fleet before Constantinople by means of burning-glasses. 

4 MSS. Bibl. Eodl. Digb. 183. And Arch. A. 149. But I think it was printed at Franc- 
fort, 1614. 4to. 

B Twenty pounds sterling. Compend. Stud. Theol. c. i. p. 5. MS. 
G Fairy Queen, iii. ii. 20. 


some magician in Africa, which obviously betrays its foundation in 
Arabian fable and Arabian philosophy^ 

The Naked Sword, another of the gifts presented by the strange 
knight to Cambuscan, endued with medical virtues, and so hard as to 
pierce the most solid armour, is likewise an Arabian idea. It was sug- 
gested by their skill in medicine, by which they affected to communi- 
cate healing qualities to various substances^, and from their know- 
ledge of tempering iron and hardening all kinds of metaR It is the 
classical spear of Peleus, perhaps originally fabricated in the same 
regions of fancy. 

And othir folk han wondrid on the Sworde, 

That wold so percin thorow everie thing ; 

And fell in spechc of Telcphus the king, 

And of Achilles for his quynte spere 

For he couth with it bothe liele and dere* 

Right in soche wise as men may by that sworde, 

Of which right now you have your selfis harde. 

Thci spake of sundri harding of metall 

And spake of medicinis ther withall. 

And how and when it sholdin hardin be, &c^ 

The sword which Berfii in the Orlando Innamorato, gives to the 
hero Ruggiero, is tempered by much the same sort of magic. 

Quel brando con tal tempra fabbricato, 
Che taglia incanto ad ogni fatatnra^. 

So also his continuator Ariosto, 

Non vale incanto, ov'elle mctte il taglio''. 

And the notion that this weapon could resist all incantations, is like 
the fiction above-mentioned of the buckler of the Arabian giant Ben 
Gian, which baffled the force of charms and enchantments made by 
giants or demons^ Spenser has a sword endued with the same effi- 
cacy, the metal of which the magician Merlin mixed with the juice of 
meadow-wort, that it might be proof against enchantment ; and after- 
wards, having forged the blade in the flames of Etna, he gave it hidden 
virtue by dipping it seven times in the bitter waters of Styx". From 

1 Hither we might also refer Chaucer's House of Fame, which is built of glass, and Lyd- 
gate's Temple of Glass. It is said in some romances written about the time of the Crusades, 
that the city of Damascus was walled with glass. Sec Hall's Vikgidem. or Satyres, &c. B. 
iv. §. 6. written in 1597. 

Or of Damascus magicke wall of glasse. Or Solomon his sweeting piles of brasse, &c. 

2 The notion, mentioned before, that every stone of Stonc-hengc was washed with juices of 
herbs in Africa, and tinctured with healing powers, is a piece of the same philosophy. 

3 Montfaucon cites a Greek chemist of the dark ages, 'Christiani Lauyriathi's 
' Saloiionis, dc tcmpcrando fcrro, conficicndo cryslallo, ct dc aliis natura: arcanis.' PalKOgr. 
Or. p. 375. 

•• Hurt. Wound. 8 v. 256. " Orl. Innam. ii. 17' st. 13. 

7 Orl. Fur. xii. 83. 

8 Aniadis dc Gaul h.TS such a sword. See Don QuLxotc, B. iii. Ch. iv, 
" Fairy Queen, ii. viii. 20. See also Ariost. xix. 84 


the same origin is also the golden lance of Berni, which Galafron king of 
Cathaia, father of the beautiful Angelica and the invincible champion 
Argalia, procured for his son by the help of a magician. This lance 
was of such irresistible power, that it unhorsed a knight the instant he 
was touched with its point. 

Una lancia d'oro, 

Fatto con arte, e con sottil lavoro. 
E quella lancia di natura tale, 
Che resister non puossi alia sua spinta ; 
Forza, o destruezza contra lei non A^ale, 
Convien che I'una, e I'altra resti vinta : 
Incanto, a cui non e nel monde eguale, 
L'ha di tanta possanza intorno cinta, 
Che ne il conte di Brava, ni Rinaldo, 
Ne il mondo al colpo suo starebbe saldo'. 

Britomart in Spenser is armed with the same enchanted spear, which 
was made by Bladud an ancient British king skilled in magic-. 

• The Ring, a gift to the king's daughter Canace, which taught the 
language of birds, is also quite in the style of some others of the occult 
sciences of these. inventive philosophers^: and it is the fashion of the 
oriental fabulists to give language to brutes in general. But to under- 
stand the language of birds, was peculiarly one of the boasted sciences 
of the Arabians; who pretend that many of their countrymen have 
been skilled in the knowledge of the language of birds, ever since the 
time of king Solomon. Their writers relate, that Balkis the queen of 
Sheba, or Saba, had a bird called Hudbud, that is, a lapwing, which 
she dispatched to king Solomon on various occasions ; and that this 
trusty bird was the messenger of their amours. We are told, that So- 
lomon having been secretly informed by this winged confidant, that 
Balkis intended to honour him with a grand embassy, enclosed a spa- 
cious square with a wall of gold and silver bricks, in which he ranged 
his numerous troops and attendants in order to receive the ambassadors, 
who were astonished at the suddenness of these splendid and unex- 
pected preparations*. Monsieur I'Herbelot tells a curious story of an 
Arab feeding his camels in a solitary wilderness, who was accosted for 
a draught of water by Alhejaj a famous Arabian commander, and who 
had been separated from his retinue in hunting. While they were talk- 
ing together, a bird flew over their heads, making at the same time an 
unusual sort of noise ; which the camel-feeder hearing, looked sted- 

1 Orl. Innara. i. i. si, 43. Sec also, L ii. st. 20, &c. And Ariosto, viii. 17. xviii. iiS. 
xxiii. 15. 

2 Fairy Queen, iii. 3. 60. iv. 6. 6. iii. i. 4. 

3 Rings are a frequent implement in romantic enchantment. Among a thou.<;and instances, 
see Orland. Innam. i. 14. Where the palace and gardens of Dragonlina vanish at Angelica's 
ring of virtue. 

■* Hcrbelot, Diet Oriental. V. Balkis, p. 182. ' Mahomet believed this foolish story, at 
least thought it fit for a popular book, and lias therefore inserted it in the Alcoran. Sec Grey 
oa HuDiut^AS, part i. cant. i. v. 547. 


WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 273 

fastly on Alhcjaj, and demanded who he was. Alhejaj, not choosing to 
return him a direct answer, desired to know the reason of that question. 
' Because, replied the camel-feeder, this bird assured me, that a com- 
*pany of people is coming this way, and that you are the chief of them.' 
While he was speaking, Alhejaj 's attendants arrived'. 

This wonderful ring also impaited to the wearer a knowledge of the 
qualities of plants, which formed an important part of the Arabian 

The vertues of this ring if ye woll here 
Are these, that if she list it for to were, 
Upon her thomb, or in her purse it here, 
There is no fowle that fleith undir heven 
That she ne shal wele understond his Steven-, 
And know his mening opinly and plain. 
And answere him in his language againe. 
And everie grassc that growith upon rote. 
She shal wele knowe, and whom it woll do bote : 
All be his woundis never so depe and wide^. 

Ever}' reader of taste and imagination must regret, that instead of 
cur author's tedious detail of the quaint effects of Canace's ring, in 
which a (alcon relates her amours, and talks familiarly of Troilus, Paris, 
and Jason, the notable achievements we may suppose to have been per- 
fonned by the assistance of the horse of brass, are either lost, or that 
this part of the story, by far the most interesting, was never written. 
After the strange knight has explained to Cambuscan the manage- 
ment of this magical courser, he vanishes on a sudden, and we hear 
no more of him. 

And aftir suppir goth this nobil king 

To sene this Horse of Brass, with all his rout 

Of lordis and of ladies him about : 

Soch wondering was ther on this Horse of Brass*, 

That sithin the grete siege of Troye was, 

Ther as men wondrid on an horse also, 

Ke was ther soch a wondering as wastho^ 

But finally the king askith the knight 

The vcrtue of this coursere and the might ; 

And prayid him to tell his governauncc : 

The hors anon gan forth to trip and dauncc, 

When that the knight laid hold upon his rcine. — 

1 Herbal, ubi. siipr. V. Hegiace Ebn Yusef Ar, Thakefi. p. 442. This Arabian com- 
mander was of the eighth century. In the Seven Wise Masters, one of the tales is founded 
on the language of birds. Ch. xvi. 

- Language. 3 v. 166. 

* CcrvDnies mentions a horse of wood, which, like this of Chaucer, on turning a pin in his 
forehead, carried his rider through the air. This horse, Cervantes adds, was made by Merlin 
for Peter of Provence : with which that valorous knight carried off the fair Magalona. From 
what romance Cervantes took this I do not recollect : but the reader sees its correspondence 
with the fiction of Chaucer's horse, and will refer it to the .same original. Sec Don Quixote, 
15. iii. ch. 8. We have the same thing in and Orson, ch. xx.\i. 

5 Then. 



Enfourmid when the king was of the knight, 
And hath conceived in his wit aright, 
The mannir and the form of all the .;hing, 
Full glad and blyth, this nobil doiibty king 
Repairith to his revell as beforne : 
The brydil is into the Toure yborn, 
And kept among his jewels ^ lefe and dere : 
The horse vanishith ; Fnot in what manere^. 

By such inventions we are willing to be deceived. These are the 
triumphs of deception over truth. 

Magnanima mensogna, hor quando e al vero 
Si bello, che si possa a te preporre ? 

The ClErke of Oxenfordes Tale, or the story of Patient Gri- 
silde, is the next of Chaucer's Tales in the serious style which deserves 
mention. The Gierke declares in his Prologue, that he learned this 
tale of Petrarch at Padua. But it was the invention of Boccacio, and 
is the last in his Decameron^. Petrarch, although most intimately 
connected with Boccacio for near thirty years, never had seen the De- 
cameron till just before his death. It accidentally fell into his hands, 
while he resided at Arque between Venice and Padua, in the year 1374. 
The tale of Grisilde struck him the most of any : so much, that he 
got it by heart to relate it to his friends at Padua. Finding that it was 
the most popular of all Boccacio's tales, for the benefit of those who 
did not understand Italian, and to spread its circulation, he translated 
it into Latin with some alterations. Petrarch relates this in a letter to 
Boccacio : and adds, that on shewing the translation to one of his 
Paduan friends, the latter, touched with the tenderness of the story, 
burst into such frequent and violent fits of tears, that he could not 
read to the end. In the same letter he says, that a Veronese having 
heard of the Paduan's exquisiteness of feeling on this occasion, re- 
solved to try the experiment. He read the whole aloud from the be- 
ginning to the end, without the least change of voice or countenance ; 
but on returning the book to Petrarch, confessed that it was an affect- 
ing story: 'I should have wept, added he, like the Paduan, had I 
' thought the story true. But the whole is a manifest fiction. There 

1 Jocalia. Precious things. , 2 y. 322. seq. 355, seq. 

3 'The bridle of the enchanted horse is carried into the tower, which was the treasury of 
Cambuscan's castle, to be kept among \\\cjmicls. Thus when king Richard L, in a crusade, 
took Cyprus, among the treasures in the castles are recited precious stones, and golden cups, 
together with ' Sillis aiircisixoxa^ ct calcaribus.' Galfr. Vincsauf. Iter. Hieresel. cap. xli. 
p. 328. Yet. Script. Angl. torn ii. 

* Giorn. .\. Nov. lo. Dryden, in the superficial but lively Preface to his Fables, says, " The 
Tale of Grisilde was the invention of Petrarch: by him sent to Boccace, from whom it came 
' to Chaucer,' ' It may be doubted whether Boccacio invented the story of Grisilde. For, as 
the late inquisitive and judicious editor of The Canterhurv T.^les observes, it appears by a 
Letterof Petrarch to Boccacio, [Opp. Petrarch, p. 540 — 7. edit. Basil. 1581.] sent with his 
Latin translation, in 1373, that Petrarch had heard the story vjith pleasure , many years before 
he saw the Decameron, vol. iv. p. 157. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 275 

* never Avas, nor ever will be, such a wife as Grisildc^.' Chaucer, as 
our Gierke's declaration in the Prologue seems to imply, received this 
tale from Petrarch, and not from Boccacio : and I am inclined to 
think, that he did not take it from Petrarch's Latin translation, but that 
he was one of those friends to whom Petrarch used to relate it at Padua. 
This too seems sufficiently pointed out in the words of the Prologue. 

I wollc you telle a tale which that I 
Lcrnid at Padow of a worthie clerke : — 
Frauncis Petrarke, the laureate poete, 
Hightin this clerke, whose rhetorike so swete 
Enluminid Italic of poetric^. 

Chaucer's talc is also much longer, and more circumstancial, than 
Boccacio's. Petrarch's Latin translation from Boccacio was never 
printed. It is in the royal libraiy at Paris, and in that of Magdalene 
college at Oxford^, 'And in Bennet college libraiy with this title. 
'HiSTORiA sive Fabula de nobili Marchione Walterio domino 
'terra; Saluciamm, quomodo duxitinuxorem Grisildem pauperculam, 

* et ejus constantiam et patientiam mirabiliter et acriter comprobavit : 
' quam de vulgari sermone Saluciarum in Latinum transtulit D. Fran- 
*ciscus Petrarcha.' CLXXVii. 10. fol. 76. Again, ibid. CCLXXV. 14. fol. 
163. Again, ibid. CCCCLVIII. 3. with the date 1476, I suppose, from the 
scribe. And in Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Laud. G. 80. 

The story soon became so popular in France, that the comedians of 
Paris represented a Alystery in French verse entitled, Le ]\Iystere 
DE Griseildis AIarquis de Saluces, in the year 1393*. Lydgate, 
almost Chaucer's cotemporary, in his manuscript poem entitled, the 
Temple of Glass", among the celebrated lovers painted on the walls 
of the temple", mentions Dido, Medea and Jason, Penelope, Alcestis, 

1 Vie de Petrarch, iii. 797. 

2 V. 1057. p. 96. Urr. Afterwards Petrarch is mentioned as dead. He died of an apo- 
plexy, Jul. 18. 1374. See V. 2168. 

!* Viz. ' Vita Grisildis per Fr. Petrarcham de v-ulgari in Latinam lingiiam traducta.' P.ut 
Rawlinson cites, ' Epistola Francisci Petrarcha: de insigni obedicntia ct tide uxoria Griscldis 

'in Waltherum Ulmc, impress.' per ine R a.d. 18A3. MSS. Not. in 

Mattairii Typogr. Hist. i. i. p. 104. In KM. Bodl. Oxon. Among the royal manuscripts, in 
the British 5luseum, there is, ' Fr. Petrarclia: super Historiam Wakcrii Marchionis et 
' Griscldis uxoris ejus.' 8. B. vi. 17. 

_ •• It was many years afterwards printed at Paris, by Jean Bonnefons. This is the whole 
title. ' Le Mystcre de Griscldis, Marquis de Saluces, mis en rime francoise et par pcrson- 
' naiges." Without date, in quarto, and in the Gothic type. In the colophon, Cyjinist la 
•vie (ic CriscUis, &^c. The writers of the French stage do not mention this piece. See p. 
246. Their first theatre is that of Saint Maur, and its commencement is placed five years 
later, in the year 1398. Aftcrvvards Apostolo Zeno wrote a theatrical piece on this .subject 
in Italy. I need not mention that it is to this day represented in Engl.ind, on a stage of 
the lowest species, and of the highest antiquity : I mean at a puppet-show. The French 
have this story in their Pake.ment ues da.mes, Mem. Lit. Tom. ii. p. 743. 4to. 
_ ' .And In a lialade, translated by Lydgate from the Latin, ' Grisildc's humble patience/ 
IS recorded. Urr. Ch. p. 550. v. 108. 

" There is a more curious mixture in Chaucer's Jinlade to King- Henry iv. Where 
Alcx.indcr, Hector, Julius Cesar, Judxs Maccabeus, Uavid, Joshua, Charlemagne, Godfrey 
of tiolloign, and king Arthur, arc all thrown Together as ancient heroes, v. 2S1. seq. But it 
IS to be observed, that the F/cnch had a metrical romance called Judas Macchabee, bcgua 


Patient Grisilde, Bel Isoulde and Sir Tristram^, Pyramus and 
Thisbe, Theseus, Lucretia, Canace, Palamon and Emilia^. 

The pathos of this poem, which is indeed exquisite, chiefly consists 
in invention of incidents, and the contrivance of the story, which can- 
not conveniently be developed in this place : and it will be impossible 
to give any idea of its essential excellence by exhibiting detached 
parts. The versification is equal to the rest of our author's poetry. 


The Tale of the Nonnes Priest is perhaps a story of English growth. 
The story of the cock and the fox is evidently borrowed from a collec- 
tion of Esopean and other fables, written by Marie a French poetess, 
whose Lais are preserved in MSS. Harl. ut infr. see f. 139. Beside 
the absolute resemblance, it appears still more probable that Chaucer 
copied from Marie, because no such fable is to be found either in the 
Greek J^^sop, or in any of the Latin Esopean compilations of the dark 
ages. See MSS. Harl. 978. f 76. All the manuscripts of Marie's 
fables in the British Museum prove, that she translated her work ' de 
'. I'Anglois en Roman.' Probably her English original was Alfred's 
Anglo-Saxon version of Esop modernised, and still bearing his name. 
She professes to follow the version of a king ; who, in the best of the 
Harleian copies, is called Ll REIS Alured. MSS. Harl. 978. supr. 
citat. She appears, from passages in her Lais, to have understood 
Enghsh. See Chaucer's Canterb. Tales, vol. iv. p. 179. I will 
give her Epilogue to the Fables from MSS. James, viii. p. 23. Bibl. 

Al linement de cest escrit Qu' en romanz ai treite e dit 

Me numeral pour remembrauncc Marie ai nun sui de France 

by Gualticr de Belleperche, tefore 1240. It was finished a few years afterwards by Pierros 
du Ricz. Fauch. p. 197. See also Lydgate, Urr. Chauc. p. 550. v. 89. M. de la Curne de 
Sainte Palaye, has given us an extract of an old Provincal poem, in which, among herDes 
of love and gallantry', are enumerated Paris, Sir Tristram, Ivaine the inventor of gloves, and 
other articles of elegance in dress, ApoUonius of Tyre, and king Arthur. Mem. Chcv. Extr. 
de Poes. Prov. ii. p. 15.J. In a French romance, Le livrc dc cucr d'ainour csfiris, written 
1457, the author introduces the blasoning of the arms of several celebrated lovers : among 
which are king David, Nero, l\Iark Antony, Theseus, Hercules, Eneas, Sir Lancelot, Sir 
Tristram, Arthur duke of Bretagne, Gaston du Foix, many French dukes, &c. Mem. Lit. 
viii. p. 592. edit. 4to. The chevalier Bayard, who died about the year 1524, is comp.ired to 
Scipio, Hannibal, Theseus, king David, Samson, Judas Maccabeus, Orlando, Godfrey of 
BoUoign, and monsieur de Palisse, marshal of France. La Vie et les Gestes du preux 
Chevaliek Bayard, &c. Printed 1525. 

1 From IMoKTE Arthl'r. They are mentioned in Chaucer's Assemblie of Fowles, v. 
290. Compl. Bl. Kn. v. ^67. 

S MSS. I3ibl. Bodl. Fairfax. 16. 


Pur eel estre que clerc plusur Prendrcient sur cus man labour 

No voit que nul sur li sa die Eil feit que fol que sci ublic 

Pur amur le cuntc Wllamc Le plus vaillant de nul rcalme 

Mcinlcmir de ceste livre feire E des Engleis en romanz trcire 

Esop apclum cest livre Ouil translata e fist escrire 

Del Gru en Latin le turna Le Reiz Alurez que mut lama 

Le translata puis en Engleis E jeo lai rimee en Franceis 

Si cumi jeo poi plus proprement Ore pri a dieu omnipotent, &c. 

The figment of Dan Burnell's Ass is taken from a Latin poem entitled, 
Speculum Stultorum^, written by Nigellus de Wireker, monk and 
precentor of Canterbury cathedral, a profound theologist, who flourished 
about the year 1200-. The narrativ^e of the two pilgrims is borrowed 
from Valerius jMaximus^. It is also related by Cicero, a less known 
and a less favorite author*. There is much humour in the description of 
the prodigious confusion which happened in the farm-yard after the 
fox had conveyed away the cock. 

-Aftir him they ran. 

And eke with stavis many anothir man. 

Ran Coll our dogge, Talbot, and eke Garlond^, 

And Malkin with her distaffe in her hond. 

Ran cowe and calfe, and eke the very hogges. — 

The duckis crj-ed as men would hem queU^, 

The geese for fere flewin ovir the trees, 

Out of the hivis came the swarme of bees'^. 

Even Jack Strawe's insurrection, a recent transaction, was not attended 
with so much noise and disturbance. 

So hidious was the noise, all Benedicite ! 
Certes ne Jack Strawe, ne all his meinc, 
Nemadin nevir shoutis half so shrill, &c^ 

The importance and affectation of sagacity Avith which dame Partlett 
communicates her medical advice, and displays her knowledge in 
physic, is a ridicule on the state of medicine and its professors'-'. 

In another strain, the cock is thus beautifully described, and not 
without some striking and picturesque allusions to the manners of the 

A cocke hight chaunticlere, 

In al the land of crowing nas his pere. 
His voice was mcrierthan the merie ^"orgon 
On masse-daics that in the churchis gon. 
Wei sikercr^^ was his crowing in his loge^^ 
Than is a clock, or abbey horologe. 

1 V. 1427. p. 17a. Urr. 2 Or John of Salisbury. Printed at Cologn in 1449. 

8 V. xioo. * Sec Val. Max. i. 7. jVnd Cic. de Divinat. i. 27. 

5 Names of do^. 6 Kin. 7 y. 14(^6. 

8 V. 1509. Thui is a proof that the Canteijuukv Tales were not written till after the 
year 1381. 
" V. 1070. 10 Ori;an. " Clearer. 12 Pen. Yard. 


His comb was reddir than the fine corall, 

And battelled^ as it were a castill wall, 

His bake was blacke as any get it shone, 

Like asure were his leggis, and his tone^ : 

His nailis whiter than the lillie floure, 

And like the burnid golde was his colored 
In this poem the fox is compared to the three arch-traitors Judas 
Iscariot, Virgil's Sinon, and Ganihon who betrayed the Christian army 
under Charlemagne to the Saracens, and is mentioned by archbishop 
Turpin*. Here also are cited, as writers of high note or authority, 
Cato, Physiologus or Pliny the elder, Boethius on music, the author of 
the legend of the life of St. Kenelme, Josephus, the historian of Sir 
Lancelot du Lake, St. Austin, bishop Bradwardine, Jeffrey Vinesauf 
who wrote a monody in Latin verse on the death of king Richard L, 
Ecclesiastes, Virgil, and Macrobius. 

Our author's JANUARY and May, or the Marchaunt's Tale, seems 
to be an old Lombard story. But many passages in it are evidently 
taken from the Polycraticon of John of Salisbury. De molcstiis ef 
oneribus coiijugionim seciindttni Hieronymum ct alios philosoplios. Ef 
de pe.rnicie libidinis. Etde mulieris Eplicsince etsimili urn fide'? And by 
the way, about forty verses belonging to this argument are translated 
from the same chapter of the POLYCliATicON, in the Wife of Bath's 
Prologue". In the meantime it is not improbable, that this tale might 
have originally been oriental. A Persian tale is just published which 
it extremely resembles'', and it has inuch of the allegory of an eastern 

The following description of the wedding-feast of January and May is 
conceived and expressed with a distinguished degree of poetical elegance. 
Thus ben thei weddid with solempnite. 
And at the feste sittith both he and she, 
With othir worthy folk upon the deis* : 

1 Embattled. 2 Toes. 3 v. 962. * v. 1341. Monk. T, v. 806. 

5 L. viii. c. II. fol. 193. b. edit. 1513. T 

<> Mention is made in this Prologue of St. Jerom and Theophrast, on that subject, v. 671 
674. The author of the Polycraticon quotes Theophrastus from Jerom, viz. ' Fertur 
' auctore Hicronimo aureolus Thcophrasti libellus de non ducenda uxore.' fol. 194. a 
Chaucer likewise, on this occasion, cites Valerie, v. 671. This is not the favourite historian 
of the middle ages, Valerius Ma.ximus. It is a book written by Walter IMapes, archdeacoii 
of O.vford, under the assumed name of Valerius, entitled, Valerius, ad liusiiium de not 
ducenda -uxore. This piece is in the Bodleian library with a large Gloss. MSS. Digb. 166. 
ii. 147. Mapes perhaps adopted this name, because one Valerius had written a treatise on the 
same subject, inserted in St. Jerom's Works. Some copies of this Prologue, instead of 
' Valerie and Theophrast,' read Paraphrasi. If that be the true reading, which I do not 
believe, Chaucer alludes to the gloss above-mentioned. Helowis, cited just afterwards, is 
the celebrated Eloisa. Trottula is mentioned, v. 677. Among the MSS. of JNIerton College 
in 0.\ford, is, 'Trottula Mulier Salernitana de passionibus mulicrum.' There is also extant, 
'Trottula, sou potius Erotis medici muliebrium liber.' Basil. 1586, 4to. See also Montfauc. 
Catal. MSS. p. 385. And Fabric, Bibl. Gr. .\iii. p. 439. 

7 Bjr Mr. Dow, ch. .\v. p. 252. The ludicrous adventure of the Pear Tree, in January and 
May, is taken from a collection of Fables in Latin eingiacs, written by one Adolphus in the 
year 1315. Leyser. Hist. Poet. Med. iEvL. p. 2009. Tlie same fable is among the Fables of 
Alphoftse, in Caxton's Esop. 

° I have explained this word. But will here add some new illustrations of it. Un- 
doubtedly the high table in a public refectorj-, as appears from these words in ^Matthew 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 279 

All ful of joye and bliss is the palcis, 

And ful of instruments and of vitaile, 

And the most dayntyist of al Italic. 

Before him stode soche instnmieuts of soune, 

That Orpheus, ne ofThebis Amphioune 

Ne madin nevir soche a melodie ; 

At cverie cours cam the loud minstralcie, 

That never Joab trompid^, for to here, 

Neither Theodamas yet half so clere, 

At Thebis, when the cite was in dout^. 

Bacchus the wine them skinkith'' al about, 

And Venus laugith blithe on everie wight, 

For January was become her knight. 

And wold in both assayin her corage 

In liberty and eke in marriage, 

And with her firebronde in her hond aboute 

Dauncith before the bride and al the route. 

And certeinly I dare say wel right this, 

Hymeneus that god of wedding is 

Saw never so mcry a wedded man. 

Hold thou thy peace, thou poet Marcian*, 

That writist us that ilk wedding merry 

Of Philology and of Mercury, 

And of the songis that the Muses song ; 

Too small is both thy pen, and eke thy tong, 

For to discrivin of his marriage, 

When tendir Youth has married stooping age. — 

!May that sittin with so benign a chere 

That her to behold it semed a feiric" ; 

Quene Hester lokid nerwith soch an eye 

On Assuere, so meke a loke hath she: 

I may you not devis al her bewte. 

But thus much of her bewte tel I may 

Tliat she was like the bright morowe of May, 

Fulfilled of all bewte and plesaunce. 

Tho January is ravished in a trance 

At everie time he lokid in her face. 

But in his herthe gan her to menace, &c^ 

Dryden and Pope had modernised the two last mentioned poems. 
Dsyden the tale of the NoNNES Priest, and Pope that of January 
and May : intending perhaps to give patterns of the best of Chaucer's 

Paris, 'Priore prandente ad magnam meknsm quam Dats \'ulgo appcllamus.' In Vit. 
Abbat. S. Albani, p. 02. And again the same writer says, that a cup, with a foot, or stand, 
was not permitted in the hall of the monaster>', ' Nisi tantiim in majori mensa quam Dais 
appcllamus.' Additam. p. 14S. There is an old French word. Dais, which signifies a 
throne, or canopy, usually placed over the head of the principal person at a magnificent 
feast. Hence it was transferred to the table at which he sate. In the ancient French 
Roman de Garin ; 

Au plus haut DAIS sist roy Anscis. 

Either at the first table, or, which is much the same thing, under the highest conopy. 

* Such as Joab never, &c. 2 Danger. » Fill, pour. 

* See supr. p. 351. 5 A ph.intasy, enchantment. 8 V. 1225. Urr. 


Tales in the comic species. But I am of cpinion that the Miller's 
Tale has more true humour than cither. Not that I mean to palHate 
the levity of the story, -which was most probably chosen by Chaucer in 
compliance with the prev'ailing manners of an unpolished age, and 
agreeable to ideas of festivity not always the most delicate and refined. 
Chaucer abounds in liberties of this kind, and this must be his apology. 
So does Boccacio, and perhaps much more, but from a different cause. 
The licentiousness of Boccacio's tales, which he composed per caccia?' 
le nialincolia delle fciiiine, to amuse the ladies, is to be vindicated, at 
least accounted for, on other principles : it was not so much the conse- 
quence of popular incivility, as it was owing to a particular event of the 
writer's age. Just before Boccacio wrote, the plague at Florence had 
totally changed the customs and manners of the people. Only a few 
of the women had survived this fatal malady; who having lost their 
husbands, parents, or friends, gradually grew regardless of those con- 
straints and customary formalities which before of course influenced 
their behaviour. For want of female attendants, they were obliged 
often to take men only into their service: and this circumstance greatly 
contributed to destroy their habits of delicacy, and gave an opening to 
various freedoms and indecencies unsuitable to the sex, and frequently 
productive of very serious consequences. As to the monasteries, it is 
not surprising that Boccacio should have made them the scenes of his 
most libertine stories. The plague had thrown open their gates. The 
monks and nuns wandered abroad, and partaking of the common 
liberties of life, and the levities of the world, forgot the rigour of their 
institutions, and the severity of their ecclesiastical characters. At 
the ceasing of the plague, when the religious were compelled to re- 
turn to their cloisters, they could not forsake their attachment to 
these secular indulgences ; they continued to practise the same free 
course of life, and would not submit to the disagreeable and unsocial 
injunctions of their respective orders. Cotemporary historians give a 
shocking representation of the unbounded debaucheries of the Floren- 
tines on this occasion : and ecclesiastical writers mention this period 
as the grand epoch of the relaxation of monastic discipline. Boccacio 
did not escape the censure of the church for these compositions. His 
conversion was a point much laboured ; and in expiation of his follies, 
he was almost persuaded to renounce poetry and the heathen authors, 
and to turn Carthusian. But, to say the truth, Boccacio's life was 
almost as loose as his writings : till he was in great measure reclaimed 
by the powerful remonstrances of his master Petrarch, who talked much 
more to the purpose than his confessor. This Boccacio himself 
acknowledges in the fifth of his eclogues, which like those of Petrarch 
are enigmatical and obscure, entitled Philosotrophos. 

But to return to the MILLER'S TALE. The character of the Clerke 
of Oxford, who studied astrology, a science then in high repute, but 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 28 1 

under the specious appearance of decorum, and the mask of the 
serious philosopher, carried on the intrigues, is painted with these 
hvely circumstances. 

This clerke yclepid was hcnd Nicholas^, 

Of derne- love he couth and of solas : 

And thereto was he she, and right prive, 

And like unto a maidin for to se. 

A chambre had he in that hostelrie^ 

Alone, withoutin any company, 

Full fetously ydight with herbis sote* ; 

And he himself as swete as in the rote'' 

Of licoris, or any seduwalR 

His almagist", and bokis grate and small, 

His asterlagour^ longing for his art. 

His augrim stonis^ lyhig feire apart. 

On shelvis, al couchid at his beddis hede; 

His presse^" ycoverid with a folding rede 

And all above there lay a gay fautrie^^, 

On which he made on nightis melodie 

So swetely that at the chamber rung. 

And Angel us ad Virgineni he sung^^ 

In the description of the young wife of our philosopher's host, there 
is great elegance with a mixture of burlesque allusions. Not to mention 
the curiosity of a female portrait, drawn with so much exactness at 
such a distance of time. 

Fairc was this yonge wife and therwithall 
As a wesill^-* her bodie gent and small, 

i The gentle Nicholas. - Secret. 

3 Hospitium, one of the old hostels at Oxford, which were very numerous before the foun- 
dation of the colleges. This is one of the citizen's houses ; a circumstance which gave rise to 
the story. 

4 Sv.'eet. 5 Root. _ 6 The herb Valerian. 

' A book of astronomy written by Ptolemy. It was in thirteen books. He wrote also four 
books of judicial astrology. He was an Egyptian astrologist, and flourished under Marcus 
Antoninus. He is mentioned in the Sovip7tour's Tale, v. 1025, and the IVife pf Bath's 
Prologue, V. 324. 

8 Asterlabore. An astrolabe. 

p Stones for computation. Augrim is AlgoritJmt, the sum of the principal rules of common 
arithmetic. Chaucer was him.sclf an adopt in this sort of knowledge. The learned Selden is 
of opinion, that his Astrolabe was compiled from the Arabian astronomers and mathematicians. 
See his PreC to Notes on Drayt. Polyolb. p. 4, where the word Dulcarttoii, (Troil. Cr. iii. 
933. 935>) '^ explained to be an Arabic term for a root in calculation. His Chanon Yem.^n's 
Tale, proves his intimate acquaintance with the Hermetic philosophy, then much in vogue. 
There is a statute of Henry V., against the transmutation of metals, in Statut. an. 4 Hen. V. 
cap. iv. vi;!. A.D. 1416. Chaucer, in the Astrolabe, refers to two famous mathematicians and 
astronomers of his time, John Some, and Nicholas Lynne, both Carmelite friars of Oxford, 
and perhaps his friends, whom he calls 'reverent clerkes.' Astrolabe, p. 440, col. i. Urr. 
They both wrote calendars, which, like Chaucer's Astrolabe, were constructed for the meri- 
dian of 0.\ford. Chaucer mentions Alcabucius, an astronomer, that is, Abdil.azi Alchabitius, 
whose Isa^jogc in Astrologiam was printed at Venice, 1485, 410. lb. fol. 440, col. ii. Compare 
Hcrbelpt. liibl. Oriental, p. 9G3, b. V. Ketau. Alasthoriab. p. 141, a. Nicholas Lynne 
above mentioned is said to have made several voyages to the most northerly parts of the 
world, charts of which he presented to Edward III. Perhaps to Iceland, and the coa.sls of 
Norway, for astronomical obscr\aiions. 'i'hcse charts are lost. Hakluyt apud Anderson. 
Hist. Com. i. p. 191, sub. ann. 1360. (See Hakl. Voy. i, 121, seq. ed. 1598.) 

^•* Press. 11 Psaltery. Xa. imtrumcnt like a harp. 

12 V. 91, p. 24, Urr. 13 Weaslc 


A seint she wcrid, barrid all with siiy, 
A barmecloth- eke as white as morrow milk. 
Upon her lendis, full of many a gore^ 
White was her smok, embroudid all bifore*, 
And eke behind, on her colere about, 
Of coleblak silk, within, and eke without. 
The tapis^ of her white volipere" 
Were of the same sute of her colere''. 
Her jfillit^ brode of silke, and set ful hie, 
And sikerly^ she had a licorous eie. 
Full small ypullid^'* wer her browis two, 
And tho^^ were bent'^ and blak as any slo. 
And she was moch more blisfull for to se 
Than is the newe perienet^^ tre ; 
And softer than the wool is of a wether : 
And by her girdil hong a purse of lether, 
Tassid^' with silke, and parlid''^ with latoun^^. 
In all this world to sekin up and down. 
There nis no man so wise that couthc thence 
So gay a popelete^'' or so gay a wench. 
Full brightir was the shining of her hewe 
Than in the Towre the noble^^ forgid newe. 
But of her song she was so loud and yerneF, 
As any swallow sitting on a berne. 
Thereto she couthe skip, and make a game, 
As any kid or calfe folFwing her dame. 
Hir mouth was swete as brackit^'* or the methe. 
Or hord of applis layd in hay or heth. 
Winsing she was as is a jolly colt, 
Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt^^. 
A broche"^ she bare upon her low collere 
As brode as is the bosse of a bokelere'--'. 
Her shoe were lacid on her leggis hie, &c^K 

Nicholas, as we may suppose, was not proof against the charms of 
this blooming hostess. He has frequent opportunities of conversing 
with her: for her husband is the carpenter of Oseney Abbey near Oxford, 
and often absent in the woods belonging to the monastery^^ His 

1 ' A girdle edged with silk.' Bnt we have no exact idea of what is here meant by harrid. 
See supr. p. 377. The Doctor of Phisicke is 'girt with a scint of sillc with barris smale.' 
Prol. V. 138, 1 once conjectured bardcd. See Hollingsh. Chron. iii. 84, col. ii. 850, col. i, 
&c., &c. 

" Apron. 3 Plait. Fold. * Edged. Adorned. 

E Tapes. Strings. " Head-dress. " Collar. 

8 Knot. Top-knot. ' Certainly. 

1« ' Made small or narrow, by plucking.' 11 They. 

12 Arched. !■* A young pear-tree. Fr. poirjeunet. 

1-4 Tasseled. Fringed. 1^ I would read purfild. 

16 Latoun, or chekelaton, is cloth of gold. 1^ ' So pretty a jiuppet." 

18 A piece of money. 1" Shrill. 

20Bragget. A drink made of honey, spices, &c. -1 ' Straight as an arrow. 

22 A jewel. -» Buckler. "^ v. 125, Urr. 

25 Sec V. S57- 

I throw that he bewent For timber, there our abbot hath him sent: 

For he is wont for timber for to go. And dwcllin at the grange a day or two. 


rival is Absalom a parish-clerk, the gaicst of his calling, who being 
amorously inclined, very naturally avails himself of a circumstance 
belonging to his profession : on holidays it was his business to carry 
the censer about the church, and he takes this opportunity of casting 
unlawful glances on the handsomest dames of the parish. His 
gallantry, agility, affectation of dress and personal elegance, skill in 
shaving and surgery, smattering in the law, taste for music, and many 
other accomplishments, are thus inimitably represented by Chaucer, 
who must have much relished so ridiculous a character. 

Now was ther of the chirch a parish clerke, 

The which that was yclepid Absalon, 

Crull was his hecrc, and as the gold it shone, 

And stroutid as a fanne longe and brode, 

Ful straight and even lay his jolly shode\ 

His rude- was redde, his eyin gray as gose 

With Poulis windows carvin on his shose^. 

In hosin red he went ful fetously : 

Yclad he was ful smale and propirly 

Al in a kirtil:* of a light watchct, 

Ful fayre, and thicke be the pointis set : 

And thereuppon he hadde a gaie surplice 

As white as is the blosome on the rice^ 

A meric child he was, so god me save. 

Well couth he lettin blode, and clip, and shave. 

Or make a chartre of land or acquittaunce : 

In twentie manir couth he trip and daunce, 

After the scholc of Oxenforde tho. 

And with his leggis castin to and fro. 

And pleyin songis on a smalc ribible'^. 

Thereto he song sometime a loud quinible'. 

His manner of making love must not be omitted. He serenades 
her with his guitar. 

He wakith al the night, and al the day, 

He kembith his lockcs brode, and made him guy. 

He woith her by menis and brocage^ 

And swore that he would ben her owne page 

aisocaa^a-, wnite, red, or green, cap. xix. In a chantry, or chapel, founded at Wmchcslci 

the year 1318, within the cemetery of the Nuns of the Blessed Virgin by Roger Inkpcnne, 

members, that is, a warden, chaplain and clerk, arc ordered to go ' in mcris caligis, ct sc 

laribus non rostratLs, nisi forsiuin Mis uti voluerunt.' And it is added, ' Vestes defer 

^ Hair. 2 Complexion. 

3 See p. 379, supr. ' Cake fencstrasti occwr in ancient Injunctions to the clergy. In 
Eton-college statutes, given in 1446, the fellows are forbidden to wear, sotularia rostrata, as 
a^caliga-, white, red,_ or green, cap. xix. In a chantry, or cli.ipel, founded at Winchester in 

, sotu- 

, . - , ....... deferant 

non Jibulatas, std dcsuper clausas, vcl brcvitaie non notandas.' Registr. Priorat. S. 
Swithmi Winton. MSS. supr. citat. Quatern. 6. Compare Wilkins's Co.NciL. iii. 670. ii. 4. 
I Jacket. « 5 Hawthorn. 

Bv. 224. A species of guitar. Lydgate, MSS. Pibl. liodl. Eairf. 16. In a poem never 
pnntcd, called Reason and Scnsiiallitc, compykd by "John Lydgate. 

Lutys, rubibis, (1. ribibles) and getemes, More for estatys than tavcmcs. 

' Treble. 8 Uy oficring money ; or a scLtlcmcuL 


He singith broking^ as a nightingale. 
He sent her piment^, methe, and spicid ale, 
And wafirs piping hot out of the glede'', 
And, for she was of town, he profired niede*. — 
Sometimes to shew his lightness and maistry 
He playith heraudes^ on a scaffold hie. 

When that the firste cok hath crow anon, 
Uprist this jolly lovir Absolon ; 
And*him arrayith gay at point devise, 
But first hechewith greyns" and licorice, 
To smcllin sote, ere he had kernpt his here. 
Under his tongue a true love knot he bare, 
For therby wend he to be graciouse ; 
Then romith to the carpenteris house''. 

1 Quavering. " Explained above. 3 The coals. The oven. 

4 See Rime of Sir Thopas, v. 3357. p. 146. Urr. Mr. Walpole has mentioned some curious 
particulars concerning the liquors which anciently prevailed in England. Anecd. Paint, i. p. 
II. I will add, that cyder was ver>' early a common liquor among our ancestors. In the 
year, 1295, an. 23 Edw. I. the king orders the sheriff of Southamptonshire to provide with all speed 
four hundred quarters of wheat, to be collected in parts of his bailiwick nearest the sea, and to 
convey the same, being well winnowed, in good ships from Portsmouth to Winchelsea. Also 
to put on board the said ships, at the same time, two hundred tons of cyder. Test. R. apixl 
Canterbury. The cost to be paid immediately from the king's wai'drobe. The precept is in 
old French. Registr. Joh. Pontissar. Episc. Winton. fol. 172. It is remarkable that Wickliffe 
translates, Luc. i. 21. 'He schal not drinke wyn ne sydyr.' This translation was made 
about A.D. 1380. At a visitation of St. Swithin's priory at Winchester, by the said bishop, 
it appears that the monks claimed to have, among other articles of luxury, on many festivals, 
' Vinum, tam album quam rubeum, claretum, medonem, burgarastrum, &c.' This was so 
early as the 1285. Registr. Priorat. S Swith. Winton.- MSS. supr. citat. quatern. 5. It appears 
also, that the Hordarhts and Canicrarius claimed every year of the prior ten dolia znni, or 
twenty pounds in money, A.D. 1337. Ibid, quatern. 5. A benefactor grants to the said con- 
vent on the day of his anniversary. ' unam pipam vini pret. x.x.?.' for their refection, a.d. 
12S6. Ibid, quatern. 10. Before the year 1200, 'Vina et medones' are mentioned as not un- 
common in the abbey of Evesham in Worcestershire. Stevens RIonast. Append, p. 13S. The 
use of mead, medo, seems to have been very ancient in England. See INIon. Angl. i. 26. 
Thome, Chron. sub. ann. 1114. It is not my intention to enter into the controversy concern- 
ing the cultivation of vines, for m.iking wine, in England. I shall only bring to light the 
following remarkable passage on that subject from an old English writer on gardening and 
farming. ' We might have a reasonable good wine growyng in many places of this realme : 
' as undoubtedly wee had immediately after the Conquest ; tyll partly by slouthfulnesse, not 
' likely any thing long that is painefull, partly by civill discord long continuying, it was left 
'and so with tyme lost, as appeareth by a number of places in this realm that keepe still tlie 
'name of Vineyardes ; anduppon manj' cliffes andhilles, areyet|to be scene the rootes and olde 
' remaynes of Vines" There is besides Nottingham, an auncient house called Chilvvell, in 
'which hou5e remayneth yet, as an auncient monument, in a great Wyndowe of Glasse, the 
' whole Order of planting, pruyning, [pruning,] stamping and pressing of vines. Beside, 
' there [at that place] is yet also growing an old vine, that yields a grape sufficient to make a 
' right good wine, as was lately proved.- — There hath, moreover, good experience of late 
' ycears been made, by two noble and honourable barons of this realme, the lorde Cobham and 
' the lorde Wylliams of Tame, who had both growyng about their houses, as good wines as 
* are in many parts of Fraunce, &c.' Barnabie Googe's FouRE bookes of Husbandry, &c. 
Lond. 1578. 4to. To THE Reader. 

5 Speght explains this ' feats of activity, furious parts in a play.' Gloss. Ch. Urr. Perhaps 
the character of Herod in a Mystery. 

CGreyns, or grains, of Paris, or Paradise, occurs in the Romant of the Rose. v. 1369. A 
rent of herring pies is an old payment from the city of Norwich to the king, seasoned among 
other spices with half an ounce of grains of Paradise. Blomf. Norf ii. 264. ' It is entitled 
BunNELLiTS, sive SpeaibiJii stultorum , and \\-as written about the year 1190. Leyser. Poet. 
Med. jEvi. p. 752. It is a common manuscript. BiirncU'vi a nick-name for Balaam's ass ia 
the Chester Whitsun Plays. INISS. Harl. 2013. 

7 v. 579. It is to be remarked, that in this tale the carpenter swears, with great propriety, 
by the patroness saint of Oxford, saint Frideswide, v. 340. 

This carpenter to bllssin him began, And seide now hclpin us saint Frideswide. 


In the mean time the scholar, intent on accompHshing his intrigue, 
locks himself up in his chamber for the space of two days. The 
carpenter, alarmed at this long seclusion, and supposing that his 
guest might be sick or dead, tries to gain admittance, but in vain. 
He peeps through a crevice of the door, and at length discovers the 
scholar, who is conscious that he was seen, in an effected trance of 
abstracted meditation. On this our carpenter, reflecting on the danger 
of being wise, and exulting in the security of his own ignorance, 

A man wott littil what shall him betide ! 

This man is fallen with his astronomy 

In some wodeness, or in some agony. 

I thoughtin ay wele how it shulde be : 

Men shulde not know^ of godsprivite. 

Yea blessid be alway the lewde-man'-^. 

That nought but only his bclefe can^. 

Sofarde another clerkewith astronomy; 

He walkid in the fcldis for to pry 

Upon the starres to wate what shuld bifall 

Tyll he was in a marlepit yfall ; 

He saw not that. But yet, by seint Thomas 

jMe ruith sore on hendc Nicholas : 

He shall be ratid for his studying. 

But the scholar has ample gratification for this ridicule. The 
carpenter is at length admitted ; and the scholar continuing the farce, 
gravely acquaints the former that he has been all this while making a 
most important discovery by means of astrological calculations. He 
is soon persuaded to believe the prediction : and in the sequel, which 
cannot* be repeated here, this humourous contrivance crowns the 
scholar's schemes with success, and proves the cause of the carpenter's 
disgrace. In this piece the reader observes that the humour of the 
characters is made subservient to the plot. 

I have before hinted, that Chaucer's obscenity is in great measure to 
be imputed to his age. We are apt to form romantic and exaggerated 
notions about the moral innocence of our ancestors. Ages of ignorance 
and simplicity are thought to be ages of purity. The direct contrar}^, 
1 believe, is the case. Rude periods have that grossness of manners 
which is not less friendly to virtue than luxury itself. In the middle 
ages, not only the most flagrant violations of modesty were frequently 
practised and permitted, but the most infamous vices. Men are less 
ashamed as they arc less polished. Great refinement multiplies 
criminal pleasures, but at the same time prevents the actual commission 
of many enormities : at least it preserves public decency, and sup- 
presses public licentiousness. 

1 ' Pry into the secrets of nature.' " Unlearned. 

* ' Who knows only what he believes.' Or, his Creed. 


The Reves Tale, or the Miller of Trompington, is much in the 
same style, but with less humour^. This story was enlarged by Chaucer 
from Boccacio^. There is an old English poem on the same plan, 
entitled, A right pleasant and inoye history of the Mylner of Abington, 
with his Wife and f aire Daiightcr, and two poore Scholars of Cam- 
bridge^. It begins with these lines. 

' Faire lordinges, if you list to heere 
* A mery jest* your minds to cheere.' 

This piece is supposed by Wood to have been written by Andrew 
Borde, a physician, a wit, and a poet, in the reign of Henry VHP. It 
was at least evidently written after the time of Chaucer. It is the work 
of some tasteless imitator, who has sufficiently disguised his original, 
by retaining none of its spirit. I mention these circumstances, lest it 
should be thought that this frigid abridgment was the ground-work of 
Chaucer's poem on the same subject. In the class of humourous 
or satirical tales, the Sompnour's Tale, which exposes the tricks 
and extortions of the mendicant friars, has also distinguished merit. 
This piece has incidentally been mentioned above with the Plow- 
man's Tale, and Pierce Plowman. 

Genuine humour, the concomitant of true taste, consists in discerning 
improprieties in books as well as characters. We therefore must 
remark under this class another tale of Chaucer, which till lately has 

1 See also The Shipjian's Tale, which was originally taken from sonie comic French 
trobadour. But Chaucer had it from Boccacio. The story of Zenobia, in the Monkes 
Tale, if from Boccacio's Cas. Vir. Illustr. (Lydg. Boch. viii. 7.) That of Hugolin of Pisa 
in the same Tale, from Dante. That of Pedro of Spain, from archbishop Turpin, ibid. Of 
Julius Cesar, from Lucaw, Suetonius, and Valerius Maximus, ibid. The idea of this Tale 
was suggested by Boccacio's book on the same subject. • 

2 Decamer. Giom. ix. Nov. 6. ' But both Boccacio and Chaucer probably borrowed from 
an old CoNTE, or Fablieu, by an anonymous French rhymer, De Combert ct dcs deux 
Clers. Fablieux et Contes, Paris, 1756. torn. ii. p. 115. — 124. The Shipman's Tale, as I 
have hinted, originally came from some such French Fableor, through the medium of 

3 A manifest mistake for Oxford, unless we read Trumpington for Abingdon, or retaining 
Abingdon we might read Oxford for Cambridge. ' There is, however, Abington, with a mill- 
stream, seven miles from Cambridge.' Imprint, at London by Rycharde Jones, 4to. Bl. Let. 
It is in Bibl. Bodl. Selden, C. 39. 4to. This book was probably given to that librarj', with 
many other petty black letter histories, in prose and verse, of a similar cast, by Robert 
Burton, author of the Anatomy of Melanxholy, who was a great collector of such pieces. 
One of his books now in the Bodleian is the History of Tom Thumb ; whom a learned ad- 
tiquarj', while he laments that ancient history has been much disguised by romantic narratives, 
pronounces to have been no less important a personage than king Edgar's dwarf. 

4 Story. 

5 Wood's Athen. Oxon. Borde. And'Hearne's Bened. Abb. i. Prasfat. p. xl. Iv. I am of 
opinion that Solcrc-Hall, in Cambridge, mentioned in this poem, was Aula Solarii. "The hall, 
with the upper story, at that time a sufficient circumstance to distinguish and denominate one 
of the academical hospitia. Although Chaucer calls it, ' grete college.' v. 88i. Thus in Ox- 
ford we had Chimney-hall, Aula cum lamino an almost parallel proof of the simplicity of their 
ancient houses of learning. Twyne also mentions Solere-hall, at Oxford. Also Aula Selarii, 
vhich I doubt not is properly Solarii. Compare Wood. Ant. Oxon. ii. 11. col. i. 13. col. i. 12. 
col. 2. Cains will have it to be Clarehall, Hist. Acad. p. 57. Those who read Scholars-hall 
(ofEdw. iii.) may consult Wacht. V. Soller. In the mean time for the reasons assigned, 
one of these two halls or colleges at Cambridge, might at first have been commonly called 
Soler-hall. A hall near Brazen-nose college, Oxford, was called Glazen-hall, having glass 
windows, anciently not common. Twyne Miscel. quaidam, S:c. ad calc. Apol. Antiq. Acad. 


been looked upon as a grave heroic narrative. I mean the Rime of 

Sir Thopas. Chaucer, at a period which almost realised the manners 

of romantic chivalry, discerned the leading absurdities of the old 

romances : and in this poem, which may be justly called a prelude to 

Don Quixote, has burlesqued them with exquisite ridicule. That this 

vvas the poet's aim, appears from many passages. But, to put the 

matter beyond a doubt, take the words of an ingenious critic. ' We 

are to observe, says he, that this was Chaucer's own Tale : and that, 

when in the progress of it, the good sense of the host is made to break 

in upon him, and interrupt him, Chaucer approves his disgust, and 

changing his note, tells the simple instructive Tale of Melieoeus, a 

vioral talc vert nous, as he terms it; to shew what sort of fictions were 

most expressive of real life, and most proper to be put into the hands 

of the people. It is further to be noted, that the Boke of The Giant 

Olyphant, and Chylde Thopas, was not a fiction of his own, but a story 

of antique fame, and very celebrated in the days of chivalry : so that 

nothing could better suit the poet's design of discrediting the old 

romances, than the choice of this venerable legend for the vehicle of 

'his ridicule upon them\' But it is to be remembered, that Chaucer's 

design was intended to ridicule the frivolous descriptions, and other 

tedious impertinencies, so common in the volumes of chivalry with 

which his age is overwhelmed, not to degrade in general or expose a 

mode of fabling, whose sublime extravagancies constitute the marvellous 

graces of his own Cambuscan; a composition which at the same time 

abundantly demonstrates, that the manners of romance are better 

calculated to answer the purposes of pure poetry, to captivate the 

imagination, and to produce surprise, than the fictions of classical 



But Chaucer's vein of humour, although conspicuous in the CANTER- 
BURY Tales, is chiefly displayed in the Characters with which they 
are introduced. In these his knowledge of the world availed him in a 
peculiar degree, and enabled him to give such an accurate picture of 
ancient manners, as no cotcmporary nation has transmitted to posterity. 
It is here that wc view the pursuits and employments, the customs and 
diversions, of our ancestors, copied from the life, and represented with 
equal truth and spirit, by a judge of mankind, whose penetration 
qualified him to discern their foibles or discriminating peculiarities : 

1 Dr. Kurd's Letters on Chivalry and Romance. Dialogues, &c. iii. 218. edit. 1765. 


and by an artist, who understood that proper selection oi'" circumstances, 
and those predominant characteristics, which form a finished portrait. 
We are surprised to find, in so gross and ignorant an age, such 
talents for satire, and for observation on life ; qualities which usually 
exert themselves at more civilised periods, when the improved state of 
society, by substituting our speculations, and establishing uniform 
modes of behaviour, disposes mankind to study themselves, and render 
deviations of conduct, and singularities of character, more im- 
mediately and necessarily the objects of censure and ridicule. These 
curious and valuable remains are specimens of Chaucer's native 
genius, unassisted and unalloyed. The figures are all British, and 
bear no suspicious signatures of classical, Italian, or French imitation. 
The characters of Thcophrastus are not so lively, particular and 
appropriated. A few traites from this celebrated part of our author, 
yet too little tasted and understood, may be sufficient to prove and 
illustrate what is here advanced. 

The character of the Prioresse is chiefly distinguished by an excess 
of delicacy and decorum, and an affectation of courtly accomplish- 
ments. But we are informed, that she was educated at the school of 
Stratford at Bow near London, perhaps a fashionable seminary for 
breeding nuns. 

There was also a nonne a Prioresse 
That of her smiling was simble and coy ; 
Her gretist othe was but by saint Eloye^ 
And French she spake full fayre and fctisly, 
Aftir the schole at Stratford atte Bowe, 
For French of Paris was to her unknowe. 
At mete- was she well ytaught withall ; 
She let no morsell from her lippis fall, 

1 Seyittc Loy, i. e. Saint Lewis. The same oath occurs in the Fkeer's Tale, v. 300. p. 
$3. Urr. 

2 Dinner. 'The Prioressc's exact behaviour at table, is copied from Rom. Rose, 14178.— 


Et bien se garde, &c. 

To spealv French is mentioned above, among her accomplishments. There is a letter in old 
French from queen Philppa, and her daughter Isaljell, to the Priour of Saint Swithin'.s at 
Winchester, to admit one Agnes Patshull into an eleemosynary sisterhood belonging to hi.s 
convent. The Priour is requested to grant her, ' Une Lyvere en votre Maison dieu de Wyn- 
'ccsterc ct estre un des soer.s,' for her life. Written at JViiidesor, Apr. 25. The year must 
have been about 1330. Registr. Priorjt. 1\ISS. supr. citat. Quartern. .\i.\. fol. 4. I do not so 
much cite this instance to prove that the Priour must be supposed to understand French, as 
to shew that it was now the court language, and even on a matter of business. There was at 
least a great propriety, that the queen and princess should write in this language, although to 
an ecclesiastic of dignity. In the same Register, there is a letter in old French from the 
queon Dowager IsabcU to the Priour and Convent of Winchester ; to shew, that it was at her 
rcciuest, that king Edward III. her son had granted a church in Winchester diocese, to thi: 
monastry of Lecdes in Yorkshire, for their better support, ' a trouver sis chagnoigneschantans 
'tons Ics jours en la chapcle du Chastel de Ledes, pour laime madamc Alianore reyne 
d'Anglctcrre, &.C.' a.d. 1341. Quatern vi. 

The Prioresse's greatest oatli is by Saint Ely. I will here throw together some of the 
most remarkable oaths in the Canterbury Tales. The Host, sv/ears by my fathers sonic. 
Urr. p. 7. 783. Sir Thopas, by ale and hreade. p. 146. 3377. Arcite by vty pan, i.e. head. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 289 

No wet her fingris in the sauce dcpe ; 
Well couth she carry a morsel, and well kepe, 
That no dropc ne fell upon her brest ; 
In curtesie was sett ful much her lest^. 
Her ovirlippc wipid she so clenc, 
That in her cup therwas no fcrthing sene 
Of grece, when she dronkin had hir draught, 
Full semily aftir hir mete she raught^. — 
And painid hir to counterfete chere 
Of court, and to ben stately of manere^. 
She has even the flilsc pity and sentimentality of many modern 

She was so charitable and so pitous, 
She wouldc wepc if that she sawe amous 
Caught in a trapp, if it were ded or bled. 
Of smale houndis had she that she fed 
With rostid flesh, or milk, or wastell bred* : 
But sore wept she if any of them were ded, 
Or if men smote them with a yarde^ smert : 
And all was conscience and tendir hert**. 

The Wife of Bath is more amiable for her plain and useful quali- 
fications. She is a respectable dame, and her chief pride consists in 
being a conspicuous and significant character at church on a Sunday. 

Of clothmaking^ she hadde such a haunt 
She passid them of Ipre and of Gaunt. 
In all the parish, wife ne was there none 
That to the offryng was bifore her gone ; 
And if thcr did, certain so wroth was she, 
That she wasoutin of all charite. 
Her coverchefes* were large and fine of ground. 
I durst to swere that thei wcyid three pound, 
That on a sonday were upon hir hedde : 
Her hosin wcrin of fine Scarlett rcdde, 

p. 10. 1167. Theseus, by mighte^ Mars the red. p. 14. 1749. Again, as he -was a trsto 
knight, p. 9. g6i. The Carpenter's wife, by St. Thomas of Kent. p. 26. 183. The Smith, by 
Christes/oote. p. 29. 674. The Cambridge Scholar, by viy fathet's kintt. p. 31. 930. Again, 
by viy croune, ib. 933. Again, for godcs bencs, or hetiison. p. 32. 96s. Again, by St. C^ith- 
berde, ib. loig" Sir johnn of Boundis, by .S';'. Martync. p. 37, 107. Gamelyn, by goddis 
boke. p. 38. 181. Gamelyn's brother, \>y St. RicJierc. ibid. 273. Again, by Cristisom ib. 279. 
A Frankclcyn, by St. Jame tluit in Galis is, i.e. St. James of Galicia, p, 40. 549. 1514. A 
Porter, by Goddis berde. ib. 581. Gamelyn, by viy hals, orneck. p. 42. 773. The Maistir 
Outlawe, by the gode rode. p. 45. 1265. The Hoste, by \\\z precious corpis Madrian, p. 160. 
4. Again, by St. Patilis bell p. 168. 893. The Man of Lawe, Depardcux. p. 49. 39. The 
ilarchaunt, by St. Thomas of Indc. p. (>6. 743. The Sompnour, by goddis ariiiis two. p. 
82. 833. The Hoste, by cochis bonis, p. 106. 2235. Again, by naylis and by blode, i.e. of 
Christ, p. 130. 1802. Again, by St. Damian. p. 131. 1824. Again, by St. Runion. ib. 1834. 
Again, by Corpus domini. ib. 1838. The Riottour, by Goddis di^ne bones, p. 135. 2211. I'he 
Hoste, to the Monke, by your fatlier kin. p. 160, 43. The Alonkc, by his porthose, or 
breviary, p. 139, 2639. Again, by God and St. Martin, ib. 2656. The Hoste, by arinis, 
biode and bonis, p. 24. 17. 

1 Pleasure. Desire. - Literally, Stretched. 3 Pj-qI. v. 123. 

4 IJread of a finer sort. ^ Stick. C v. 143. 

7 It is to be observed, that she lived iu the neighbourhood of Batii ; a country famous foi 
clothing to this day. 

8 Head-dress. 



Full strait istreynid, and hir shoos ful newe : 
Bold was hir face, and fayr and redde hir hewe. 
She was a worthy woman all her life : 
■'Husbandes at the chirche dore had she had five^. 

The Frankelein is a country gentleman, whose estate consisted 
in free land, and was not subject to feudal services or payments. He 
is ambitious of shewing his riches by the plenty of his table : but his 
hospitality, a virtue much more practicable among our ancestors than 
at present, often degenerates into luxurious excess. His impatience if 
his sauces were not sufficiently poignant, and every article of his 
dinner in due form and readiness, is touched with the hand of Pope or 
Boileau. He had been a president at the sessions, knight of the 
shire, a sheriff, and a coroner^. 

An housholder, and that a gret, was he : 
Saint Julian he was in his countre*. 
His brede, his ale, was alway aftir one : 
A bettir viendid^ man was nowher none. 
Withoutin bake mete never was his house 
Of fisli and fleshe, and that so plenteouse, 
It snewid*' in his house of mete and drink, 
And of all dainties that men couth of think. 
Aftir the sondrie seasons of the yere. 
So chaungid he his mete'', and his suppere. 
Many a fat partriche had he in mewe. 
And many a breme, and many a luce*, in stewe. 
Woe was his cooke, but that his saucis were 
Poinant and sharpe, and redy all his gere ! 
His table dormaunt^ in the halle alway, 
Stode redy coverid, all the longe day^**. 

The character of the Doctor of Phisicke preserves to us the state 
of medical knowledge, and the course of medical erudition then in 
fashion. He treats his patients according to rules of astronomy : a 
science which the Arabians engrafted on medicine. 

For he was groundid in astronomie : 
He kept his pacients a full grct dele 
In houris by his magike naturaP^. 

1 At the southern entrance of Norwich cathedral, a representation of the EsPOtrsALs, or 
sacrament of marriage, is carved in stone ; for here the hands of the couple were joined by 
the priest, ami great jjart of the service ^lerformcd. Here also the bride was endowed with 
■what was called Dos ad cftmm ecclesur. This ceremony is exhibited in a curious old picture 
engraved by Mr. Walpole, where king Henry VII. is married to his queen, standing at 
the facade or western portal of a magnificent Gothic church. Anecd. Paint, i. 31. Compare 
Marten. Rit. Eccl. Anecdot. iL p. 630. And Hearne's Antiquit. Glastonb. Append, p. 310. 

- V. 449. 

3 An office anciently executed by gentlemen of the greatest respect and property. 

4 Simon the leper, at whose house our Saviour lodged in Bethany, is called, in the 
Legends, Julian the good herborom, and bishop of Bethpage. In the Tale of Beryn, St. 
Julian is invoked to revenge a traveller who had been traiterously used in his lodgings. Sea 
Urr. Ch. p. 599. v. 625. 

6 Better vianded. 6 Snowed. 7 Dinner. 8 Pike. 

Never removed, 10 v. 356. il V. 4x6. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 291 

Petrarch leaves a legacy to his physician John de Dondi, of Padua, 
■who was likewise a great astronomer, in the year 1370^. It was a long 
time before the medical profession was purged from these supersti- 
tions. Hugo de Evesham, born in Worcestershire, one of the most 
famous physicians in Europe about the year 1280, educated in both 
the universities of England, and at others in France and Italy, was 
eminently skilled in mathematics and astronomy^. Pierre d'Apono, a 
celebrated professor of medicine and astronomy at Padua, wrote com- 
mentaries on the problems of Aristotle, in the year 13 10. Roger 
Bacon says, 'astronomic pars melior medicina^. In the statutes of 
New-college at Oxford, given in the year 1387, medicine and as- 
tronomy are mentioned as one and the same science. Charles V., 
king of France, who was governed entirely by astrologers, and who 
commanded all the Latin treatises which could be found relating to 
the stars, to be translated into French, established a college in the 
universit>' of Paris for the study of medicine and astrology*. There is 
a scarce and ver)' curious book, entitled 'Nova medicines methodus 
' curandi morbos ex mathematica scientia deprompta, nunc denuo 
'revisa, &c. Joanne Hasfurto Virdungo, medico et astrologo doctis- 
'simo, auctore, Haganoae, excus. 1518V Hence magic made a part of 
medicine. In the Marchaunts second tale, or History of Beryn, 
falsely ascribed to Chaucer, a chirurgical operation of changing eyes 
is partly performed by the assistance of the occult sciences. 

The whole science of all surgery. 

Was unyd, or the chaunge was made of both eye. 
With many sotill enchantours, and eke nygrymauncers, 
That sent wer for the nonis, maistris, and scoleris". 

Leland mentions one William Glatisaunt, an astrologer and physician, 
a fellow of Merton college in Oxford, who wrote a medical tract, 
which, says he, ' nescio quid MAGI/E spirabat'^.' I could add many 
other proofs^. 

The books which our physician studied are then enumerated. 

Well knew he the old Esculapius, And Dioscorides, and eke Rufus, 
Old Hippocrates, Haly, and Galen, Serapion, Rasis, and Avicen, 
Averrois, Damascene, Constantine, 
Bernard, and Gattisden, and Gilbcrtin. 

Rufus, a physician of Ephesus, wrote in Greek, about the time of 
Trajan. Some fragments of his works still remain^. Haly was a 

1 See Acad. Inscript. xx. 443. 

2 Pits. p. 370. Bale, iv. 50. xiii. 86. 

3 Bacon, Op. M.ij. edit. Jcbb, p. 158. See also p. 240. 247. 
* Monifancon, Bibl. Manuscript, torn. ii. p. 791. b. 

8 In quarto. v. 2089. Urr. Ch. 

7 Lei. apud Tann. Bibl. p. 262. And Lei. Script. Brit. p. 400. 

8 Amc's Hist. Print, p. 147. 

8 Conring. Script. Com. Sxc. i. cap. 4. p. C6. 67. Tlic Arabians have translations of him. 
Herbcl. Bibl. Orient, p. 972. b. 977. b. 


famous Arabic astronomer, and a commentator on Galen, in the 
eleventh century, which produced so many famous Arabian phy- 
sicians^. John SerapioUj of the same age and country, wrote on the 
practice of physic^. Avicen, the most eminent physician of the 
Arabian school, flourished in the same century^. Rhasis, an Asiatic 
physician, practised at Cordova in Spain, where he died in the tenth 
century*. Averroes, as the Asiatic schools decayed by the indolence 
of the Caliphs, was one of those philosophers who adorned the 
Moorish schools erected in Africa and Spain. He was a professor in 
the university of Morocco. He wrote a commentary on all Aristotle's 
works, and died about the year 1160. He was styled the most Peri- 
patetic of all the Arabian \vriters. He was born at Cordova of an 
ancient Arabic family^ John Damascene, secretary to one of the 
Caliphs, wrote in various sciences, before the Arabians had entered 
Europe, and had seen the Grecian philosophers''. Constantinus Afer, 
•a monk of Cassino in Italy, was one of the Saracen physicians who 
brought medicine into Europe, and formed the Salernitan school, 
chiefly by translating various Arabian and Grecian medical books 
into Latin''. He-was born at Carthage : and learned grammar, logic, 
geometrjr, arithmetic, astronomy, and natural philosophy, of the 
Chaldees, Arabians, Persians, Saracens, Egyptians, and Indians, in 
the schools of Bagdat. Being thus completely accomplished in these 
sciences, after thirty-nine years study, he returned into Africa, where 
an attempt was formed against his life. Constantine having fortu- 
nately discovered this design, privately took ship and came to Salerno 
in Italy, where he lurked some time in disguise. But he was recog- 
nised by the Caliph's brother then at Salerno, who recommended 
him as a scholar universally skilled in the learning of all nations, to 
the notice of Robert duke of Normandy. Robert entertained him 
with the highest mark of respect : and Constantine, by the advice of 
his patron, retired to the monastery of Cassino, where being kindly 
received by the Abbot Desiderius, he translated in that learned society 
the books above-mentioned, most of which he first imported into 

^ Id. ibid. Saec. xi. cap, 5. p. 114. Haly, called Abbas, was likewise an eminent physician 
of this period. He was called, ' Simia Galeni.' Id. ibid. 

2 Id. ibid. p. 113, ri4. 

3 Id. ibid. See Pard. T. v. 2407. Urr. p. 136. 

4 Conring ut supr. Saec. x. cap. 4. p. lA). He wrote a large and famous work called Con- 
tinetis. Rhasi.s and Almasor, (f. Albumasar, a .great Arabian astrologer,) occur in the library 
of Peterborough Abby, Matric. Libr. Monast. Burgi S. Petri. Gunton, Peterb. p. 187. See 
Hcarne, Ben. Abb. Pra;f. lix. 

5 Conring. ut supr. Sa2C. xii. cap. a. p. 118. 
" Voss. Hist. Gr. L. ii. c. 24. 

^ Petr. Diacon. de Vir. illustr. Monast. Cassin. cap. xxiii. See the Dissertations. He is 
again mentioned by our authority in the M.-vrchaunt's Tale, v. 1326. p. 71. Urr. 

And lectuaries had he there full fine, _ Soche as the cursid monk Dan Castaniine 

Hath written in his boke de Coitu. 

The title of this book is, ' De Coitu, qulbus prosit aut obsit, quibus medicaminibus et alimcn- 
tis acuatur impcdiaturve.' Inter Op. Basil. 1536. fol. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 293 

Europe. These versions are said to be still extant. He flourished 
about the year 1086'. Bernard, or Bernardus Gordonius, appears to 
have been Chaucer's cotemporary. He was a professor of medicine 
at Montpelicr, and wrote many treatises in that faculty^. John 
Gatisden was a fellow of Merton college, where Chaucer was educated, 
about the year 1320^ Pits says, that he was professor of physic in 
Oxford*. He was the most celebrated physician of his age in Eng- 
land ; and his principal work is entitled, Rosa Medica, divided into 
five books, which was printed in Paris in the year 1492^ Gilbertine, 
I suppose is Gilbertus Anglicus, who flourished in the thirteenth cen- 
tur}', and wrote a popular compendium of the medical art*". About the 
same time, not many years before Chaucer wrote, the works of the 
most famous Arabian authors, and among the rest those of Avicenne, 
Averroes, Serapion, and Rhasis above-mentioned, Avere translated into 
Latin''. These were our physician's libran,-. But having mentioned 
his books, Chaucer could not forbear to add a stroke of satire so natu- 
rally introduced. 

His studie was but litill in the bible^. 

^ Leo Ostiensis, or P. Diac. Auctar. ad Leon. Chron. Mon. Cassin. lib. iii. c. 33. p. 445. 
Scriptor. Italic, torn. iv. Murator, In his book dd Incantationibus, one of his enquiries is, 
Ati inveneriiK in, libris GrjECORUM hoc gualiter in. Indokum libris est invcnire, &c. Op. 
torn. i. ut supr. 

3 Petr. Lambec. Prodrom. Ssec. xiv. p. 274. edit, ut supr. 

3 It has been before observed, that at the introduction of philosophy into Europe by the 
Saracens, the clergy only studied and practised the medical art. This fashion prevailed a long 
while after^vards. The Prior and Convent of S. Swithin's at Winchester granted to Thomas 
of Sliaftesbury, clerk, a corrody, consisting of two dishes daily from the Prior's kitchen, bread, 
drink, robes, and a competent chamber in the monastery, for the term of his life. In con- 
sideration of all which concessions, the said Thomas paid them fifty marcs : and moreover is 
obligep, 'deservire nobis jk Arte Mcdicvw. Dat. in dom. Capitul. Feb. 15. a.d. 1319.' 
Registr. Priorat. S. Swithin. Winton. MS. supr. citat. The most learned and accurate Fab- 
ricius has a separate article on Theoloci Medici. Bibl. Gr. xii. 739. seq. See also Gianon. 
Istor. Neapol. 1. x. ch. xi. §• 49i- In the romance of Sir Guv, a monk heals the knight's 
wounds. Signal. G. iiii. 

There was a vtonke beheld him well That could of teach crafte some dell. 

In G. of Monmouth, who wrote in 112S, Eopa intending to poison Ambrosius, introduces 
himself as a physician. But in order to sustain this character with due propriety, he first 
shaves his head, and assumes the habit of a monk. lib. viii. c. 14. John Arundale, afterwards 
bishop of Chichester, was chaplain and first physician to Henry VI., in 1458. Wharton. 
Angl. sacr. i. 777. Faricius abbot of Abingdon, about 1110, was eminent for his skill in medi- 
cine ; and a great cure performed by him is recorded in the register of the abbey. Hearne's 
Hened. Abb. Pra;f. xlvii. King John, while sick at Newark, made use of William de Wodc- 
stoke, abbot of the neighbouring'ery of Cro-vton, as his physician. Bever, Chron. 
MSS. Harl. apud Hcarne, Pra;f. ut Supr. p. xlix. Many other instances may be added. 
The physicians of the university of Paris were not allowed to marry till the year 1452. Me- 
nagian. p. 333. In the same university, anciently at the admission to the degree of doctor in 

fhysic, they took an oath that they were not married. MSS. Br. Twyne, 8. p. 249. ' Seo 
'ricnd's Hist, of Physick, ii. 237. 

* P- 414- 

5 Tanner, Bibl. p. 312. Lcland styles this work, 'opus luculcntum juxta ac cruditum.' 
Script. Brit. p. 355. 

O Conriiig. ut supr. Saec. xiii. cap. 4. p. 127. And Leiand. Script. Brit p. 291. Who says, 
that Gilbert's Practica ct Compendinni Mediciiia: was most carefully studied by many 'ad 
' quoestum properantes.' He adds, that it was common, about this time, for English students 
abroad to .assume the surname ^//;'/ii:7<j, as a plausible recommendation. 

"[ Conring. ut supr. Sxc. xiii. cap. 4. p. 126. About the same time, the works of Galen and 
Hippocrates were first translated from Greek into Latin : but in a muit barbarous style. Id. 
ibid. p. 127. 

8 Y. 440. 


The following anecdotes and observations may serve to throw 
general light on the learning of the authors who compose this curious 
library. The Aristotelian or Arabian philosophy continued to be com- 
municated from Spain and Africa to the rest of Europe chiefly by 
means of the Jews about the tenth and eleventh centuries. About 
these periods, not only the courts of the Mahometan princes, but even 
that of the pope himself, were filled with Jews. Here they principally 
gained an establishment by the profession of physic ; an art tiien but 
imperfectly known and practised in most parts of Europe. Being well 
versed in the Arabic tongue, from their commerce with Africa and 
Egypt, they had studied the Arabic translations of Galen and Hippo- 
crates ; whichhadbecome still more familiar to the great numbers of their 
brethren who resided in Spain. From this source also the Jews learned 
philosophy ; and Hebrew versions made about this period from the 
Arabic, of Aristotle and the Greek physicians and mathematicians, are 
still extant in some libraries^ Here was a beneficial effect of the dis- 
persion and vagabond condition of the Jews : I mean the diffusion of 
knowledge. One of the most eminent of these learned Jews was 
Moses IMaimonides, a physician, philosopher, astrologer, and theologist, 
educated at Cordova in Spain under Averroes. He died about the 
year 1208. Averroes being accused of heretical opinions, was sen- 
tenced to live with the Jews i7i the street of the Jews at Cordova. 
Some of these learned Jews began to flourish in the Arabian schools 
in Spain, asearly as the beginning of the ninth century. Many of the 
treatises of Averroes were translated by the Spanish Jews into Hebrew : 
and the Latin pieces of Averroes now extant were translated into 
Latin from these Hebrew versions. I have already mentioned the 
school or university of Cordova. Leo Africanus speaks of " Platea 
bibUothecariorum Cordouee." This, from what follows, appears to be 
a street of booksellers. It was in the time of Averroes, and about the 
year 1220. One of our Jew philosophers has fallen in love, turned 
poet, and his verses were publicly sold in this street^. My author says, 
that on renouncing the dignity of the Jewish doctor, he took to the 
writing of verses^ 

The SoMPNOUR, whose office it was to summon uncanonical 
offenders into the archdeacon's court, where they were very rigorously 
punished, is humourously drajvn as counteracting his profession by his 
example : he is libidinous and voluptuous, and his rosy countenance 
belies his occupation. This is an indirect satire on the ecclesiastical 
proceedings of those times. His affectation of Latin terms, which he 
had picked up from the decrees and pleadings of the court, must have 
formed a character highly ridiculous. 

1 Euscb. Renaudot. apud Fabric. Bibl. Gr. xii. 254. 

2 Leo African, de. Med. et Pliilosoph. Hebr. c. xxviii. xxix. 

3 Leo, ibid. ' Amore capilur, et bignitatk doctorum posthabita cocpit edcre carmina. 
Simon, in Suppl. ad Leon. Musinens. de Ritib. Hebr. p. 104. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY, 295 

And when that he well dronkin had the wine. 
Then would he speke no word but Latine. 
A few schole tennis couth he two or thre, 
That he had lernid out of some decrc. 
No wonder is, he herd it all the day : 
And ye well knowin eke, how that a jay 
Can clepe watte as well as can the pope^: 
But whoso couth in other things him grope-, 
Then had he spent al his philosophic, 
A q^iestio quid Juris ^ would he crie*. 

He is with great propriety made the friend and companion of the 
Pardonere, or dispenser of indulgences, who is just arrived from the 
pope, ' brimful of pardons come from Rome al hote : ' and w-ho carries 
in his wallet, among other holy curiosities, the virgin Mary's veil, and 
part of the sail of Saint Peter's ship^ 

The Monke is represented as more attentive to horses and hounds 
than to the rigorous and obsolete ordinances of Saint Benedict. Such 
are his ideas of secular pomp and pleasure, that he is even qualified 
to be an abbot". 

An outrider that lovid vcnery", 

A manly -mon, to ben an abbot able : 

Many a dainty horse he had in stable. 

This ilke ^ monke let old thingis to pace. 
And heldin aftir the new world the trace. 
He gave not of the text a puUid hen^ 
TJjat faith, that hunters be not holy men^". 

He is ambitious of appearing a conspicuous and stately figure on horse- 
back. A circumstance represented with great elegance. 

And when he rode, men might his bridle here 
Gingiling in a whistling wind, as clere 
And eke as loud, as doth the chapel belP\ 

The gallantry of his riding-dress, and his genial aspect, is painted in 

lively colours. 

I see his sieves pursilid^^ at the hande. 
With grys^", and that the finist in the lande. 

^ ' So edit. 1561.' See Johnson's Dictionary, in Magpie. 

* Examine. 3 Read, Aye, questio, &c. ■* v. 639. ' v. 670, seq. 

® There is gfreat humour in the circumstances which qualify our monk to be an abbot. Some 
time in the thirteenth centurj', the prior and convent of Saint Swithin's at Winchester, appear 
to have recommended one of their brethren to the convent of Hyde as a proper person to be 
preferred to the abbacy of that convent, then vacant. Tliese are his merits. ' Est enim 

confratcr illc noster in glosanda sacra pagina bene callens, in scriptura [transcribing] peritus, 
'in capitalibus literis appingendis bonus artife.x-, in regula S. Benedicti instructissimus, 
'psallendi doctissimus, &c.' MSS. Registr. ut supr. quat. . . These were the ostensible 
qualities of the master of a capital monasterj'. But Chaucer, in the verses before us, 
seems to have told the real truth, and to have given the real character as it actually existed 
in life. I believe, that our industrious confrere, with all liis knowledge of glossing, 
writing, illuminating, chanting, and Benedict's rules, would in fact have been less likely 
to succeed to a vacant abbey, than one of the genial complexion and popular accomplishments 
here inimitably described. 

7 Hunting. 8 Same. 

8 ' He did not care a straw for the text, &c.' ic v. 17C, sea. 

IJ See supr. p. 1O4. ' "^ Fringed. l3 Fur. 


And to sustene his hode undir his chin 
He had of gold wrought a ful curious pin, 
A love-knot in the greter end ther was. 
His hed was bald, and shone as any glas, 
And eke his face as he had been anoint : 
He was a lorde ful fat, and in gode point. 
His eyin stepe, and rolling in his hed, 
That stemith as a furneis of led. 
His bootes souple, his hors in great esta,te, 
Now certcinly he was a fayr prelate ! 
He was not pale as a forpynid ghost ; 
A fat swan lovde he best of any rost. 
His palfry was as brown as is the berrj^^ 

The Frere, or friar, is equally fond of diversion and good living ; 
but the poverty of his establishment obliges him to travel about the 
country, and to practice various artifices to provide money for his con- 
vent, under the sacred character of a confessor-. 

A frere there was, a wanton and a merry ; 

A limitour^, and a ful solempne man : 

In all the orders four is none that can 

So much of daliaunce, and of faire langage. — 

Ful swetely herde he their confessioune : 

Ful plesant was his absolutioune. 

His tippit was aye farhd ful of knives 

And pinnis for to givin to faire wives. 

And certainly he had a merr}^ note : 

Wele couthe he sing and playin on a rote*. 

Of yedding^ he bare utterly the price. 

Ther n'as no man no where so vertuouse ; • ■ 

He was the best beggare in all his house". 

Somewhat he lipsid for his wantonnesse, 

To make his English swete upon his tonge ; 

And in his harping, when that he had songe, 

His eyis twinkelid in his hede aright 

As donn the starris in a frostie night''. 

^ V. 193. 

" A friar that had a particular grant for begging or hearing confessions within certain 

3 Of mendicants. 

4 In Urry's Glossary this expression, on a Rote, is explained, hy Rote. But a rote is a musi- 
cal instrument. Lydgate, MSS. Fairfax, Bibl. Bodl. 16. 

For ther was Rotys of Almayne, ^ And eke of Arragon and Spayne. 

Again, in the same manuscript, 

Harpys, fithcles, and eke rotys . Wei acording to ther notys. 

y^h&xe. fUheles \^ fiddles, as in the Prol. CI. Oxenf. v. 590. So in the Roman d^ Alexandre, 
MSS. Bibl. Bodl. ut supr. fol. i. b. col. 2. 

Rote, harpe, viole, et gigne, et siphonie. 
I cannot help mentioning in this place, a pleasant mistake of bishop Morgan, in his 
translation of the New Testament into Welch, printed 1567. He translates the ViAi.s of 
wrath, in the Revelations, by Crythan, i.e. Crouds or Fiddles, Rev. v. 3. The Greek is 
(pixXoci. Now it is probable that the bishop translated only froia the English, where he 
fijund VIALS, which he took for VIOLS. 
6 Yielding, Le. dalliance. 6 Co.ivcnt. 7 y. 208. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 297 

With these unhallowed and untrue sons of the church is contrasted 
the Parsoune, or parish-priest : in describing -whose sanctity, sim- 
plicity, sincerity, patience, industrj^, courage, and conscientious im- 
partiality, Chaucer shews his good sense and a good heart. Dryden 
imitated this character of the GoOD PARSON, and is said to have ap- 
plied it to bishop Ken. 

The character of the Squire teaches us the education and requisite 
accomplishments of young gentlemen in the gallant reign of Edward 
III. But it is to be remembered, that our squire is the son of a knight, 
who has performed feats of chivalry in every part of the world ; which 
the poet thus enumerates wuth great dignity and simplicity. 

At Alissandre' he was whan it was won, 
Full oft timis had he the bourd begon\ 
Abovin alle naciouns in Pruce'-. 
In Lettow-* had he riddin and in Luce*. 
No cristen man so oft of his degree 
In Granada, and in the sege had he be 
Of Algezir^, and ridd in Behnai-y'' 
At Leyis'' was he, and at Sataly**, 
When they were won : and in the grete sea : 
At many a noble army had he be : 
At mortal battailes had he ben fiftene, 
And foughtin for our faith at Tramisene'. 
In lystis thrys, and alway slein his fo. 
This ilke worthy Knight had ben also 
Sometimis with the lod of Palathy^": 
Ayens^"^ another hethen in Turky. 

1 I win here add a similar expression from Gower, Conf. Amant. lib. viii. fol. 177, b. edit 
Benhel. 1554. 

— Bad his marshall of his hall 
To settcn him in such degre, That he upon him myght se. 

The kyiig was soonc scuc and served : And he which had his prise deserved. 
After the kyngis own worde, Was made ie^yu a middle borde. 

That is, 'he was seated in the middle of the table, a place of distinction and dignity.' 
- Prussia. ■* Lithuania. ^ Livonia. 

5 A city of Spain. Perhaps Gibraltar. 

6 Spegiit supposes it to be that country in Barbary which is called Benamarin. It is men- 
tioned again in the Knight's Tale, v. 2632, p. 20, Urr. 

Ne in Balinarie thcr is no lion. That huntid is, &c. 

By which at least we may conjecture it to be some country in Africa. Perhaps a corruption 
for Barbaric. 

7 Some suppose it to be Laviosa, a city on the continent, near Rhodes. Others Lybissa, a 
city of Lithynia. 

o A city in Anatolia, called Alalia. Many of these places are mentioned in the history of 
the crusades. The gulf and castle of Satalia are mentioned by Bcnedictus Abbas, in the 
crus.'xde under the year 1191. ' Et cum rex Francia; recessisset ab Antioch^t, statim intravit 
' gul/iiin SathalIjE. — Sathali.*; Castellutn est optimum, unde gulfus ille nomen accepit ; et 
'super gulfum ilium sunt duo Castclla et Villac, ct utrumque dicitur Satai.ia. Scd unum 
' illorum est dcsenum, ct diciiur Vetus Satalia quod pirata; dcstruxerunt, ct alteram Nova 
'S.VTALI A dicitur, quod M.inuel impcratorConstantinopolis firmavit.' Vir. et Gusr. Hii.NK. 
et Ric. ii. p. O80. Afterwards he mentions Mare Gracuui, p. 683. That is, the Mediter- 
ranean from Sicily to Cyprus. I .im inclined, in the second verse following, to read 'Grcke 
' sea.' Ley is is the town of Layas in Armenia. 

9 ' In the holy war at Thrasimenc, a city in Barbary.* 

10 Palatbia, a city in Anatolia. Froissart, iii. 40. U Against. 


And evirmore he had a sovrane prize, 

And thoug that ne was worthy he was wise^ 

The poet in some of these lines imphes, that after the Christians were 
driven out of Palestine, the English knights of his days joined the 
knights of Livonia and Prussia, and attacked the pagans of Lithuania, 
and its adjacent territories, Lithuania was not converted to Chris- 
tianity till towards the close of the fourteenth century. Prussian 
targets are mentioned, as we have before seen, in the Knight's Tale. 
Thomas duke of Gloucester, youngest son of king Edward III., and 
Henry earl of Derby, afterAvards king Heniy IV., travelled into Prussia: 
and in conjunction with the grand Masters and Knights of Prussia and 
Livonia, fought the infidels of Lithuania. Lord Derby was greatly in- 
strumental in taking Wilna, the capital of that county, in the year 1390-. 
Here is a seeming compliment to some of these expeditions. This in- 
vincible and accomplished champion afterwards tells the heroic tale 
of Palamon and Arcite. His son the Squier, a youth of twenty 
years, is thus delineated. 

And he had been sometime in ^ chivauchie 

In Flandris, in Artois, in Picardie; 

And born him wele, as of so littill space, 

In hope to standin in his ladies grace. 

Embroudid was he as it were a mede 

All ful of fresh flouris both white and rede. 

Singing he was and floityng al the day. 

He was as fresh as is the month of IVIay. 

Schort was his gown with slevis long and wide, 

Wei couth he sit an hors, and faire yride. 

And songis couth he make, and wel endite, 

Just, and eke daunce, and wel portraie, and write*. 

To this young man the poet, with great observance of decorum gives 
the tale of Cambuscan, the next in knightly dignity to that of Palamon 
and Arcite. He is attended by a yeoman, whose figure revives the ideas 
of the forest laws. 

And he was clad in cote and hode of grene : 
A sheff of pecocke aiTows bright and kene**. 

Iv. 51. 

2 Hakluyt's Voyacjes, i. 122. seq. edit. 1398. Hakluyt's account of the conquest of Prussia 
by the Dutch Knights Hospilalaries of Jerusalem, ibid. 

3 Chivauchie riding, exercises of horsenfanship, Compl. Mar. Ven. v. 144. 

Ciclinlus riding in his chivauckie From Venus. 

4 V. 85. 

5 Comp. Gul. Wa;jTiflete, episc. Winton. an. 1471, (supr. citat.) Among the stores of the 
bishop's castle at Farnham. ' ArC7is cum chordis. Et red. comp. dc .\xiv arcubus cum xxiv 
'chordisde ■s:<^mm\e.wi\3..—Sagittczv!agna:. Et de cxliv sagittis magnis barbatls cum xxiv 
' chordis de remancntia.— .S^ri^Vte magna. Et de exli sagittis magnis barbatis_ cum pennis 
'pavonum.' In a comptitus of bishop Gervays, episc. Winton. an. 1266, (supr. citat.) among 
the stores of the bishop's castle of Taunton, one of the heads or styles is, Candce ^avouiim, 
which I suppose were used for feathering arrows. In tlie articles of Anna, which are part o 


Undir his belt he bare ful thriftily : 
Wcl coutli he dress his taclcle yomanly: 
His arrows droupid not witlr fcatlicris low; 
And in liis hand lie bare a mighty bow. 
Upon his arm he bare a gay bracei'^, 
And by his side a sword and bokeler. 
A Christopher- on his brcst of silver shene : 
A horn he bare, the baudrick was of grene^. 

The character of the Reve, an officer of much greater trust and 
authority during the feudal constitution than at present, is happily 
pictured. His attention to the care and custody of the manors, the 
produce of which was then kept in hand for furnishing his lord's table, 
perpetually employs his time, preys upon his thoughts, and makes him 
lean and choleric. He is the terror of bailiffs and hinds : ajid is re- 
markable for his circumspection, vigilance, and subtlety. He is never 
in arrears, and no auditor is able to over-reach or detect him in his 
accounts : yet he makes more commodious puixhases for himself than 
for his master, without forfeiting the good will or bounty of the latter. 
Amidst these strokes of satire, Chaucei"'s genius for descriptive paint- 
ing breaks forth in this simple and beautiful description of the Reeve's 
rural habitation. 

His wonning* was ful fayre upon a heth, 
With grene trees yshadowed was his place^. 

In the Clerke of Oxenforde our author glances at the inattention, 
paid to literature, and the unprofitableness of philosophy. He is 
emaciated •with study, ciad in a threadbare cloak, and rides a steed 
lean as a rake. 

For he had gotten him no benefice, 
Ne was so worldly for to have office : 
For him had lever" han at his bed shed 
Twentie bokis, yclad with black or red, 
Of Aristotle and his philosophic, 
Then robis rich, fithcll", or gay sautrie : 
But albc that he was a philosopher, 
Yet had he but little gold in his coffer^. 

His unwearcd attention to logic had tinctured his conversation with 
much pedantic formality, and taught him to speak on all subjects in a 
precise and sententious style. Yet his conversation was instructive : 

the episcopal stores of the said castle, I find enumerated 1,421 great arrows for cross bows 
remaining over and above 371 delivered to the bishop's vassals toitpore guerre. Under the 
same title occur cross-bows made of horn. Arrows with feathers of the peacock occur in Lyd- 
gatc's Chronicle of Troy, B. iii. cap. 22, sign. O. iii. edit. 1555, fol. 

— Many good archers 
Of Bocme, which with their arrows kcne 
And with fcthirs of pccocke frcshe and shene, &c. 

^ Armour for the arms. 

2 A saint who presided over the weather. The patron of field sports. 3 v. 103. 

■1 Dwelling. 5 V. 6o3. « Rather. 7 Fiddle. 

8 V. 293. Or it may be explained, Yet he could not find the philosopher's &tono. 


and he was no less willing to submit than to communicate his opinion 

to others, 

Sowning in moral virtue was his speche, 
And gladly would he learn, and gladly teche^. 

The perpetual importance of the Serjeant of Lawe, who by habit 
or by affectation has the faculty of appearing busy when he has 
nothing to do, is sketched with the spirit and conciseness of Horace. 

No where so busy 'a man as he ther n'as, 
And yet he semid busier than he was'-^. 

There is some humour in making our lawyer introduce the 
language of his pleadings into common convei^sation. He addresses 
the hoste. 

Hoste, quothe he, de pardcuxjco asscnfi. 

The affectation of talking French was indeed general, but it is here 
appropriate and in character. 

Among the rest, the character of the HoSTE, or master of the 
Tabarde inn where the pilgrims are assembled, is conspicuous. He 
has much good sense, and discovers great talents for managing and 
regulating a large Company ; and to him we are indebted for the happy 
proposal of obliging every pilgrim to tell a story during the journey to 
Canterbury. His interpositions between the tales are very useful and 
enlivening ; and he is something like the chorus on the Grecian stage. 
He is of great service in encouraging each person to begin his part, in 
conducting the scheme with spirit, in making proper observations on 
the merit or tendency of the several stories, in settling disputes which 
must naturally arise in the course of such an entertainment, and in 
connecting all the narratives into one continued system. His love 
of good cheer, experience in marshalling guests, address, authoritative 
deportment, and facetious disposition, are thus expressively displayed 
by Chaucer. 

Grete chere our Hoste made us everichone, 

And to the suppere set he us anone ; 

1 V. 300. 

- V. 323. He IS said to have 'often yben at the ^arvisc' v. 313. It is not my design to 
enter into the disputes concerning the meaning or etymology oi parvis : from wKxchMrz'isia, 
the name for tlie pubUc schools in Oxford, is derived. But I will observe, that pa>-,'ts is men- 
tioned as a court or portico before the church of Notre Dame at Paris, in John de Mean's part 
of the Roman de la Rose, v. 12529. 

A Paris n'eust hommes ne femme" Au ^arz'is dcvant Nostre Dame. 

The passage is thus translated by Chaucer Rom. R. v. 7157. 

Ther n'as no wight in all Paris Before our Ladie at Purvis 

The word is supposed to be contracted from Paradise. This perhaps signified an ambulatory. 
Many of our old religious houses had a place called Paradise. In the year 1300, child.en 
were taught to read and sing in the Purvis of St. Martin's church at Norwich. Blomf. Norf 
ii, 748. Our Sergeant is afterwards said to iiave received many _/tYi a>!d rohcs, v. 319. The 
sergeants and all the officers of the superior courts of law, anciently received winter and sum- 
mer robes from the king's wardrobe. He is likewise said to cite cases and decisions, ' that 
from the time of king William were full,' v. 326. For this. line see Barrington's Observa- 
tions on the ancient Statutes. > 3 v. 309. 


And sen'id us with vitailes of the best : 
Strong was his wine, and wclc to drink us Icst^ 
A semely man our hoste was withal 
To bene a marshall in a lordis hal. 
A hirgc man was he, with eyin stepe, 
A fayrer burgeis is there none in Cliepc^. 
Bold of his speche, and wise, and well ytaught, 
And of manhode lakid him right nought. 
And eke thereto he was a merry man, &c^. 

Chaucer's scheme of the Canterbury Tales was evidently left 
unfinished. It was intended by our'author, that every pilgrim should 
likewise tell a Tale on their return from Canterbury*. A poet who lived 
soon after the Canterbury Tales made their appearance, seems to 
have designed a supplement to this deficiency, and with this view to 
have written a Tale called the Marchaunt's second Tale, or the 
History of Beryn. It was first printed by Urry, who supposed it 
to be Chaucer's^ In the Prologue, which is of considerable length, 
there is some humour and contrivance : in which the author, happily 
enough, continues to characterise the pilgrims, by imagining what 
each did, and how each behaved, when they all arrived at Canterbury. 
After dinner was ordered at their inn, they all proceeded to the cathe- 
dral. At entering the church one of the monks sprinkles them witli 
holy water. The knight with the better sort of the company goes in 
great order to the shrine of Thomas Beckett. The Miller and his com- 
panions run staring about the church : they pretend to blazon the arms 
painted in the glass windows, and enter into a dispute in heraldry : 
but the Host of the Tabarde reproves themfortheir improper behaviour 
andinpertinent discourse,anddirectsthcm tothemartyr's shrine. When 
all had finished their devotions, they return to the inn. In the way 
thither they purchase toys for which that city was famous, called 
Canterbu7y brocJiis : and here much facctiousncss passes betwixt the 
Frere and the Sompnour, in which the latter vows revenge on the 
former, for telling a Tale so palpably levelled at his profession, and 
protests he will retaliate on their return by a more severe story. When 
dinner is ended, the Hoste of the Tabarde thanks all the company in 
form for their several Tales. The party then separate till supper-time 

^ 'Wc liked.' 2 Cheapside. 3 Prol. v. 74^. 

■1 Or rather, two on their way thither, and two on their return. Only Chaucer himself tells 
two talcs. The poet says, that there were twenty-nine pilgrims in company : but in the 
Characters he describes more. Among the Tales which remain, there are none of the 
I'rioresse's Chaplains, the Haberdasher, Carpynter, Wcbbe, Dyer, 'I'apifer, and Hoste. The 
Chanons Ycman has a Talk, but no Character. The Plowman's Talc is certainly supposi- 
titious. .See supr. p. 306. And Obs. Spens. ii. 217. It is omitted in the best manu.script of 
theCAKTERBUKY Tales, MSS. Harl. 1758. fol. mcmbran. These Tales were supposed to 
hit spoken, riol written. But we have in the Plowman's, 'For my writing me allow.' v. 
3309. Urr. And in other places. 'For my writing if I have blame.' — 'Of my writing 

nave me cxcus'd.'etc. See a Note at the beginning of the Cant. T.\Lr.s, IMSS. Laud. K. 
50. Bib). Bodl. written by John Barcham. But the discussion of these points properly be- 
longs to an editor of Chaucer. 

s Urr. Chauc. p. 595. 


by agreement. The Knight goes to survey the walls and bulwarks of 
the city, and explains to his son the Squier the nature and strength 
of them. Mention is here made of great guns. The Wife of Bath is 
too weary to walk far ; she proposes to the prioresse to divert them- 
selves in the garden, which abounds with herbs proper for making 
salves. Others wander about the streets. The Pardoner has a low 
adventure, which ends much to his disgrace. The next morning they 
proceed on their return to South wark : and our genial master of the 
Tabarde, just as they leave Canterbury, by way of putting the company 
into good humour, begins a panegyric on the morning and the month 
of April, some lines of which I shall quote, as a specimen of our 
author's abilities in poetical description^. 

Lo ! how the seson of the yere, and AverelP shouris, 

Doith^ thebusshis burgyn* outblossomes and flouris. 

Lo ! the prymerosys of the yere, how fresh they bene to sene, 

And many othir flouris among the grassis grene. 

Lo ! how they spring and sprede, and of divers hue, 

Beholdith and seith, both white, red, and blue. 

That lusty bin and comfortabyll for mannis sight, 

For I say for myself it makith my hert to light'\ 
On casting lots, it falls to the Marchaunt to tell the first tale, which 
then follows. I cannot allow that this prologue and Tale were written 
by Chaucer. Yet I believe them to be nearly coeval. 


It is not my intention to dedicate a volume to Chaucer, how much 
soever he may deserve it ; nor can it be expected, that, in a work of 
this general nature, I should enter into a critical examination of all 
Chaucer's pieces. Enough has been said to prove, that in elevation 
and elegance, in harmony and perspicuity of versification, he surpasses 
his predecessors in an infinite proportion : that his genius was uni- 
versal, and adapted to themes of unbounded variety : that his merit 
was not less in painting familiar manners with humour and propriety, 
than in moving the passions, and in representing the beautiful or the 
grand objects of nature with grace and sublimity. In a word, that he 
appeared with all the lustre and dignity of a true poet, in an age which 
compelled him to stmggle with a barbarous language, and a national 
want of taste ; and when to write verses at all, was regarded as a sin- 
gular qualification. It is true indeed, that he lived at a time when 
the French and Italians had made considerable advances and improve- 

1 There is a good description of a magical palace, v. 1973 — 2076. 2 April. 

3 Make. 4 Shoot. 6 y. 690. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH TOETRY. 303 

ments in poetty : and although proofs have ah'cady been occasionally 
given of his imitations from tliese sources, I shall close my account of 
him with a distinct and comprehensive view of the nature of the poetry 
which subsisted in France and Italy when he wrote : pointing out in 
the mean time, how far and in what manner the popular models of 
those nations contributed to form his taste, and influence his genius. 

I have already mentioned the troubadours of Provence, and have 
observed that they were fond of moral and allegorical fables. A taste 
for this sort of composition they partly acquired by reading Boethius, 
and the PsyCHOMACHlA of Prudentius, two favorite classics of the 
dark ages ; and partly from the Saracens their neighbours in Spain, 
who were great iuventors of apologues. The Fi'ench have a very early 
metrical romance De FORTUNE et DE Felicite, a translation from 
Boethius's book DE Consolatione, by Reynault de Louens a Do- 
minican friar^. From this source, among many others of the Proven- 
cal poems, came the Tournament of Antichrist above-mentioned, 
which contains a combat of the Virtues and Vices : the Romaunt of 
Richard de Lisle, in which Modesty fighting Avith LuST^ is thrown 
into the river Seine at Paris : and, above all, the Romaunt of the 
Rose, translated by Chaucer, and already mentioned at large in its 
proper place. Visions were a branch of this species of poetry, which 
admitted the most licentious excursions of fancy in forming personifi- 
cations, and in feigning imaginary beings and ideal habitations. Under 
these we may rank Chaucer's HOUSE OF Fame, which I have before 
hinted to have been probably the production of Provence^. 

1 Mem. Lit. torn, xviii. p. 741, 410. And torn. vii. 293, 294; I have before mentioned John 
of Mean's translation of Boethius. It is in verse. John de Langres is said to have made a 
translation in prose, about 1336. It is highly probable that Chaucer translated Boethius from 
some of the French translations. In the Bodleian library there is an Explaxatio of Boethius's 
Consolation by our countryman Nicholas Trivett, who died before 1329. 

2 PuTERiE. Propcrljr Bawdry, Obscenity. Modesty is drowned lu the river, which gives 
occasion to this conclusion, ' Dont vien que plus n'y a Bonte dans Paris.' The author lived 
about the year 1300. 

3 The ingenious editor of the Canterbury Tales treats the notion, that Chaucer imi- 
tated the Provencal poets, as totally void of foundation. He says, ' I have not observed in 
' any of his writings a single phrase or word, which has the least appearance of having been 
' fetched from the South of the Loire. With respect to the manner and matter of his com- 

contrary doctrine, at least by implication : and I here beg leave to explain myself on a 
subject materially affecting the system of criticism that has been formed on Chaucer's 
works. I have never affirmed, that Chaucer imitated the Provencal bards : although it is 
by no means improbable, that he might have known their tales. But as the peculiar nature 
of the Provencal poetry entered deeply into the substance, cast, and character, of some of 
those French and Italian models, which he is allowed to have followed, he certainly may be 
said to have copied, although not immediately, the maiier and vtatnter of these writers. I 
have called his HoL'KE of Fame originally a Provencal composition. I did not mean that 
it was written by a Provencial troubadour : but that Chaucer's original was compounded ot 
the capricious mode of fabling, and that extravagant style of fiction, which constitute the 
essence of the Provencial poetry. As to the Floure and the Lf-AFE, which Drj'dcn pro- 
nounces to have been composed after their manner, it is framed on the old allegorising 
spirit of the Provencal writers, refined and disfigured by the fopperies of.the French poets 
in the fourteenth century. The ideas of these fablers have been so strongly imbibed, that 
they continued to operate long after Petrarch had introduced a more rational method ol 


But the principal subject of their poems, dictated in great measure 
by the spirit of chivah^y, was love : especially among the troubadours 
of rank and distinction, whose castles being crowded with ladies, pre- 
sented perpetual scenes of the most splendid gallantry. This passion 
they spiritualised into various metaphysical refinements, and filled it 
with abstracted notions of visionary perfection and felicity. Here too 
they were perhaps influenced by their neighbours the Saracens, whose 
philosophy chiefly consisted of fantastic abstractions. It is manifest, 
however, that nothing can exceed the profound pedantry with which 
they treated this favorite argument. They defined the essence and 
characteristics of tine love with all the parade of a Scotist in his pro- 
fessorial chair : and bewildered their imaginations in speculative 
questions concerning the most desperate or the most happy 
situations of a sincere and sentimental heart^. But it would 
be endless, and indeed ridiculous, to describe at length the 
systematical solemnity with which they cloathed this passion-. 
The ROMAUNT OF THE ROSE which I have just alleged as a 
proof of their allegorising turrf, is not less an instance of their affecta- 
tion in writing on this subject : in which the poet, under the agency 
of allegorical personages, displays the gradual approaches and im- 
pediments to fruition, and introduces a regular disputation conducted 
with much formality between Reason and a Lover. Chaucer's Tes- 
tament OF Love is also formed on this philosophy of gallantry. It 
is a lover's parody of Boethius's book De Consolatione mentioned 
above. His poem called La Belle Dame sans Mercy^, and his 
Assemble of Ladies, are from the same school*. Chaucer's 
Prioresse and Monke, whose lives were devoted to religious reflec- 
tion and the most serious engagements, and while they are actually 
travelling on a pilgrimage to visit the shrine of a sainted martyr, openly 
avow the universal influence of love. They exhibit, on their apparel, 
badges entirely inconsistent with their profession, but easily account- 
able for from these principles. The Prioresse wears a bracelet on 

1 In the mean time the greatest liberties and indecencies were practised and encouraged. 
These doctrines did not influence the manners of the times. In an old French tale, a countess 
in the absence of her lord having received a knight into her castle, and conducted him in great 
state to his repose, will not suffer him to sleep alone : with infinite politeness she orders one of 
her damsels, la pins cortoise et la plus bele, into his bed-chamber, avcc ce chevalier gcsir. 
j\Iem. Cheval. ut supr. torn. ii. p. 70. not. 17. 

2 This infatuation continued among the French down to modern times. ' Les gens de 
' qualite, says the ingenious JNI. de la Curne de Sainte Palaye, conservoient encore cegout que 
* leurs pcres avoient pris dans nos anciennes cours : ce fut sansdoute pour complaire a son 
' fondateur, que I'Academie Francoise traita, dans ses premiers seances, plusieurs sujets qui 
■* conccrnoient I'Amour ; et Ton vit encore dans I'hotel du Longucville les personncs les plus 
'qunlifees et les plus spiritualles du siecle de Louis .\iv. se disputer a qui commenteroit et 
' raffineroit le mieu.x sur la delicatesse du cncur et des sentimcns, a qui fcroit, sur ce chapure, 
'les distinctions le plus subtiles.' Mem. Cheval. ut supr. torn. ii. P. v. pag. 17. 

3 Translated or imitated from a French poem of Alain Chartier, v. 11. 

Which Maistir Alayne made of remembrance Chief secretary to the king of France. 
He was secretary to Charles the sixth and seventh. But he is chiefly famous for his prose. 
* So is Gower's Confessio Amantis, as we shall see hereafter. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 305 is inscribed, with a crowned A, Amor vincit omnicO-. The 
]\Ionke tics his hood with a true-lover's knot"^. The early poets of 
Provence, as I before hinted, formed a society called the Court of 
Love, which gave rise to others in Gascony, Langucdoc, Poictou, and 
Dauphiny : and Picardy, the constant rival of Provence, had a similar 
institution called Plaids et Gicux sous VOrincl. These establishments 
consisted of ladies and gentlemen of the highest rank, exercised and 
approved in courtesy, who tried with the most consummate ceremony 
and decided with supreme authority, cases in love brought before 
their tribunal. Martial d'Avergne, an old French poet, for the diver- 
sion and at the request of the countess of Beaujeu, wrote a poem en- 
titled Arresta Amorum, v>r the Decrees of Love, which is a humour- 
ous description of the Plaids ot C'cardy. Fontenelle has recited one 
of their processes, which conveys au ^dea of all the rest''. A queen of 
France was appealed to from an unju;^. sentence pronounced in the 
love-pleas, where the countess of Champ^j^ne resided. The queen 
did not chuse to interpose in a matter of so much consequence, nor to 
reverse the decrees of a court whose decision was absolute and final. 
She answered, ' God forbid, that I should presume to contradict "the 
sentence of the countess of Champagne !' This was about the year 
1206. Chaucer has a poem called the Court of Love, which is 
nothing more than the Love-court of Provence* : it contains the 
twenty statutes which that court prescribed to be universally obsei-ved 
under the severest penalties^ Not long afterwards, on the same 
principle, a society was established in Langucdoc, called the Fraternity 
of the Penitents of Love. Enthusiasm was here carried to as high a 
pitch of extravagance as ever it was in religion. It was a contention 
of ladies and gentlemen, who should best sustain the honour of their 
amorous fanaticism. Their object was to prove the excess of their 
love, by showing with an invincible fortitude and consistency of con- 
duct, with no less obstinacy of opinion, that they could bear extremes 
of heat and cold. Accordingly the resolute knights and esquires, 
the dames and damsels, who had the hardiness to embrace this severe 
institution, dressed themselves during the heat of summer in the 
thickest mantles lined with the warmest fur. In this they demon- 

1 V. 162. 2 V. 197. 

3 Hist. Theat. Franc, p. 15. torn. iii. Oeuvr. Paris, 1742. 

4 Chaucer's ten Commandments of Love, p. 554. Urr. 

6 Vic tic Pclrarque, torn. ii. Not. xix. p. 60. Probably ///^ C(7«rrf'/Jwi?7/r was the origin 
of that called La Cour Amoreuse, established under the gallant reign of Charles VI. in 
the year 1410. The latter had the most considerable families of France for its member.s, 
and a parade of grand officers, like those in the royal household and courts of law. Hist, 
Acad. Inscrip. Tom. vii. p. 287. seq. 410. Hist. Langued. torn. iii. p. 25. seq. 

'I'he most uniform and unembarrassed view of the establishment and usages of this 
Court, which I can at present recollect, is thrown together from scattered and scarce' 
materials by the ingeniou:, author of Vie de Petraque, torn. ii. p. 45. seq. Not. xix. Hut 
for a complete account of these institutions, and other curious particulars relating to the 
ancient manners and ancient poetry of the French, the public waits with impatience for ■'■- 
history of the Provencal poeUs written by Mons. de la Cumc dc S.iinte Pabyc, v.ho 
copied most of their manuscripts with great care and cxpcncc. 


strated, according to the ancient poets, that love works the most won- 
derful and extraordinary changes. In winter, their love again 
perverted the nature of the seasons : they then cloathed themselves 
in the lightest and thinnest stuffs which could be procured. It was 
a crime to wear fur on a day of the most piercing cold ; or to appear 
with a hood, cloak, gloves, or muff. The flame of love kept them 
sufficiently warm. Fires, all the winter, were utterly banished from 
their houses ; and they dressed their apartments with evergreens. In 
the most intense frost their beds were covered only with a piece of 
canvas. It must be remembered, that in the mean time they passed the 
greater part of the day abroad ; in wandering about from castle to castle, 
insomuch, that many of these devotees, during so desperate a pilgrimage, 
perished by the inclemency of the weather, and died martyrs to their 

The early universality of the French language greatly contributed 
to facilitate the circulation of the poetry of the troubadours in other 
countries. The Frankish language was familiar even at Constanti- 
nople and in its dependent provinces in the eleventh centuiy, and 
long afterAvards. Raymond Montaniero, an historian of Catalonia, who 
wrote about the year 1300, says, that the French tongue was as well 
known in the Morea and at Athens as in Paris. ' E parlavan axi belle 
' Francis com dins en Paris-.' The oldest Italian poetiy seems to 
be founded on that of Provence. The word SONNET was adopted from 
the French into the Italian versification. It occurs in the Roman de la 
Rose, ' Lais d'amour et SONNETS courtois^.' Boccacio copied many of 
his best Tales from the troubadours*. Several of Dante's fictions are 

1 D. Vaisette, Hist, du Languedoc, torn. iv. p. 184. 

2 Compare p. 145. Note y. Hist. Aragon. c. 261. 3 v. 720. 

4 Particularly from Rutebeuf and Hebers. Rutebeuf was living in the year 1310. He 
wrote tales and stories of entertainment in verse. It is certain that Boccacio took, from this 
old French minstrel, Nov. x. Giorn. ix. And perhaps two or three others. Hcbcrs lived 
about the j'ear 1200. He wrote a French romance, in verse, called the Sczvu Sn^-cs of 
Greece, or Dolopatkos. He translated it from the Latin of Dom Johans, a monk of the 
abbey of Haute-selve. It has great variety, and contains several agreeable stories, 
pleasant adventures, emblems, and proverbs. Boccacio has taken from it four Talcs, viz. 
Nov. ii. Giorn. iii. Nov. iv. Giorn. vii. Nov. viii. Giorn. viii. And the Talc of the Boy who 
had never seen a woman, since finely touched by Fontaine. An Italian book called 
Erastus is compiled front this Roman of the Seven Sages. It is said to have been first 
composed by Sandaber the Indian, a writer of proverbs : that it afterwards appeared suc- 
cessively in Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, and Greek ; was at length translated into Latin by 
the monk above-mentioned, and from thence into French by Hebers. It is very probable 
that the monk translated it from some Greek manuscript of the dark ages, which Huet 
says was to be found in some libraries. Three hundred years after the Romaji of Hebers, 
it was translated into Dutch, and again from the Dutch into Latin. There is an English' 
abridgement of it, which is a story-book for children. See Mem. Lit. Tom. ii. p. 731. 4to. 
Fauchett, p. 106. 160. Huet, Orig. Fab. Rom. 136. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. x. 339. Massicu, 
Poes. Fr. p. 137. Crescimben. Volg. Poes. Vol. i. L. v. p. 332. 'The ground-work of 
Dolopailios is a Greek story-book called Tyntipas, often cited by Du Cange, whose copy 
appears to have been translated from the Syriac. Gloss. Ned. et Infim. Graicitat. — Ind. 
Auctor. p 33. Among the Harleian MSS. is another, which is said to be translated from the 
Persic. RISS. Harl. 5560. Fabricius says, that Syntipas was printed at Venice, lingua, 
viilgari. Bid. Gr. x. 515. On the whole, the plan of Tyniipas appears to be exactly the 
same with that of Lcs Sept Sages, the Italian £rasto, and oiu- own little story-book the 
Seven Wise Masfers : except that, instead of Dioclesian of Rome, the king is called 
Cyrus of Persia ; and, instead of one Tale, each of the Philosophers tells two. The 
circumstance of Persia is an argument, that Oyniipas was' originally an oriental composition. 

WARTON'S history of ENGLISH POETRY. 307 

derived from the same fountain. Dante has honoured some of them 
with a scat in his Paradise^ : and in his tract De Vulgari Elo- 
QUENTIA, has mentioned Thiebault king of Navarre as a pattern for 
writing poctr)'". With regard to Dante's capital work the Inferno, 
Raourde Houdane, a Provencal bard about the year 11 80, wrote a 
poem entitled, Le Voye du le Songe d'Enfer^. Both Boccacio 
and Dante studied at Paris, where they much improved their taste 
by reading the songs of Thiebauld king of Navarre, Gaces Brules, 
Chatelain de Courcy, and other ancient French fabulists*. Petrarch's 
refined ideas of love are chiefly drawn from those amorous reveries 
of the Provencals which I have above described; heightened per- 
haps by the Platonic system, and exaggerated by the subtilising 
spirit of Italian fancy. Varchi and Pignatelli have written professed 
treatises on the nature of Petrarch's love. But neither they, nor the 
rest of the Italians who, to this day, continue to debate a point of 
so much consequence, consider how. powerfully Petrarch must have 
been influenced to talk of love in so peculiar a strain by studying 
the poets of Provence. His TriUMFO DI Amore has much imagery 
copied from Ansehn Fayditt, one of the most celebrated of these 
bards. He has likewise many imitations from the works of Arnaud 
Daniel, who is called the most eloquent of the troubadours^ Petrarch, 
in one of his sonnets, represents his mistress Laura sailing on the 
river Rhone, in company with twelve Provencal ladies, who at that 
time presided over the COURT OF Love'^ 

Pasquicr observes, that the Italian poetry arose as the Provencal 
declined^. It is a proof of the decay of invention among the French 
in the beginning of the fourteenth century, that about that period they 
began to translate into prose their old metrical romances : such as the 
fables of king Arthur, of Charlemagne, of Oddegir the Dane, of Rcnaud 
of Montauban, and other illustrious champions, whom their early 

See what is collected on this curious subject, which is intimately concerned with the history of 
the invention of the middle ages, by the learned editor of the Cayiterbuyy Tales, vol. iv. p. 
239. There is a translation, as I am informed by the same writer, of this Romance in octo- 
syllable verse, probably not later than the age of Chaucer. MSS. Cotton. Calb. E. ix. 
It is entitled ' The Process of the seven Sages,' and agrees entirely with Les sept sages de 
/f<77K<7 in French prose. MSS. /^<zr/?. 3860. MSS. C. C. Coll. 0.\on. 252. in membran. 
4to. The Latin book, called liistoria sepiein Sapientuin Romcc, is not a very scarce 
manuscript : it was.printcd before 1500. I think there are two old editions of More's books 
at Cambridge. Particularly one printed in 4to at Paris, in 1493. Many of the old French 
minstrels deal much in tales and novels of humour and amusement, Ukc those of Boccacio'j 
Decameron. They call them Fabliaux. 

■1 Compare Crescimbcn. Volg. Poes. L. L c. xiv. p. 162. 

2 And Commed. Infem. cant. .\.\ii. 3 Fauch. Rqc. p. 96. 

4 Faucheit, Rec. p. 47. 116. And Huet, Rom. p. 121. 108. 

6 He lived about ii8g. Recherch. Par. Dcauchamps, p. s- Nostradamus asserts, that 
Petrarch stole many things from a troubadour called Richard seigneur dc Barbezeiuz, who 
is placed under i38;3. Petrarch, however, was dead at that lime. 

o Sonnet, clxxxviii. Uodici Donne, &c. The academicians della Crusca, in their Dictionary, 
quote a manuscript entitled, LiuRO d'Amore of the year 1408. It is also referred to by 
Crcscimbcni in his Lives of the Provencal poets. It contains verdicts or determioaticius in 
the Court o/" Love. 

7 Pasq. Les Recherch. dcla France, vli. 5. p 609. Gii. edit. 1633. fol. 


writers had celebrated in rhymed At length, about the year 13 So, in 
the place of the Provencal, a new species of poetry succeeded in France, 
consisting of Chants Royaux^, Balades, Rondeaux, and Pastorales^. 
This was distinguished by the appellation of the New Poetry : and 
Froissart, who has been mentioned above chiefly in the character of 
an historian, cultivated it with so much success, that he has been called 
its author. The titles of Froissart's poetical pieces will alone serve to 
illustrate the nature of this New Poetry: but they prove, at the same 
time, that the Provencal cast of composition still continued to prevail. 
They are, The Paradise of Love, a Panegyric on the Month of May, 
the Temple of Honour, the Flower of the' Daisy, Amorous Lays, 
Pastorals, the Amorous Prison, Royal Ballads in honour of 07ir Lady, 
the Ditty of the Amorous Spine tt, Virelais, Rondeaus, and the Plea 
of the Rose and Violet^. Whoever examines Chaucer's smaller pieces 
will perceive that they are altogether formed on this plan, and often 
compounded of these ideas. Chaucer himself declares, that he wrote 

Many an hymme for your holidaies 

*That hightin balades, rondils, virelaies*". 
But above all, Chaucer's Floure AND the Leafe, in which an air 
of rural description predominates, and where the allegory is principally 

1 These translations, in which the originals were much enlarged, produced an infinite 
number of other romances in prose : and the old metrical romances soon became unfashion- 
able and neglected. The romance of Perceforrest, one of the largest of the P'rencli 
romances of chivalry, ■ivas written in verse about 1220. It was not till many years afterwards 
translated into prose. IM. Falconet, an ingenious enquirer into the early literature of France, 
is of opinion, that the most ancient romances, such as that of the Round Table, were first 
written in Latin prose : it being well known that Turpin's Ch.^, as it is now ex- 
tant, was originally composed in that language. He thinks they were translated into French 
rhymes, and at last into French prose, tels qne notis les az'ons aiijoiirday. Hist. Acad. 
Inscript. vii. 293. But part of this doctrine may be justly doubted. 

2 With regard to the Chaiint royal, Pasquier describes it to be a song in honour of God, 
the holy Virgin, or any other argument of dignity, especially if joined W'ith distress. It was 
written in heroic stanzas, and closed with a I Enz'oy, or stanza containing a recapitulation, 
dedication, or the like. Chaucer calls the Chant royal above-mentioned, a Kyngis Note, 
Jlill. T. V. III. p. 25. !&> Complaint of Vcmis, Citckozti, and Nightinf;;ale, and La belle 
Davic sans Ncrcy. Have all a V Envoy, and belong to this species of French verse. His 
t Envoy to the Complaint of Venus, or Mars and Venus, ends with these line, v. 79. 

And eke to me it is a grete penaunce, Sith rime in English hath soche scarcite. 

To follow word by word the curiosite Of gransonflour of them that make in Fraunco 

Make signifies to "write poetry ; and here we see that this poem was translated from the 
French. See also Chaucer's Dreame, v. 2204. Petrarch has the En-joi. I am inclined to 
think, that Chaucer's Assemble of Foiules was partly planned in imitation of a French poem 
■written by Gace de la Vigne, Chaucer's cotemporary, entitled, Jxomati dOiseaux, which 
treats of the nature, properties, and management of all birds de chass:!. But this is merely 
a conjecture, for 1 have never seen the French poem. At least there is an evident similitude 
of subject. 

3 About this time, a Prior of St. Genevieve at Paris wTote a small treatise entitled, L'Art 
de Dictier BalladiiS, et Rondelles. Mons. Beauchamp's Rech. Theatr. p. 6S. M, 
Massieu says this is the first Art of Poetry printed in France. Hist. Poes. Fr. p. 222. 
L'Art Poetique du Jaques Pellouticr du Mons. Lyon, 555. 8vo. Liv. 11. ch. i. Du l'Ode. 

4 I'asquicr, ubi supr. p. 612. Who calls such pieces mignardises. 

5 Here is an cUcipsis. He means. And poeins. 

6 Prol. Leg. G. W. v. 422, He mentions this sort of poetry in the Frankclcin's Tale, v. 
2493. p. 109 Urr. 

Of which materc [lovel madin he many laycs, 
Songis, Complaintis, Roundils, Virclayes. 

Compare Chaucer's Dreme, v. 973. In the Floure and Leafe we have the words of a 
French Roundeau, v. 177. 


conducted by mysterious allusions to the virtues or beauties of the 
vegetable world, to flowers and plants, exclusive of its general romantic 
and allegoric vein, bears a strong resemblance to some of these sub- 
jects. The poet is happily placed in a delicious arbour, i